COVID19: Traffic at Cyprus airports picking up

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Cyprus airports are seeing passenger traffic pick up post-COVID19 lockdown after a slow start in June with around 5,500 travellers a day.

Airports re-opened on June 9 for the first time since mid-March when the coronavirus pandemic gripped of the island.

Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said on Friday said flights and arrivals have picked up as “some 5,500 passengers a day are passing through Cyprus’ airports”.

Larnaca Airport, in its first week, saw a lowly 7,000 passengers flying in and out when it reopened in June after a ban on commercial flights was lifted.

Initial estimates made by Karousos in June, estimated some 1000 passengers a day, increasing to 200,000 for the month of July and 400,000 in August.

Larnaca and Paphos airports were operating a combined 70 inbound and outbound flights on Friday.

Currently, Cyprus is allowing flights in from some 40 countries based on their epidemiological data.

The Health Ministry takes into account the recommendation of the European Council for the gradual and coordinated lifting of travel bans to the EU.

This saw the exclusion of Israel and Lebanon, delivering a blow to Cyprus’ tourist arrivals as the island had to remove them from its safe list.

According to the latest approved list, visitors from 22 Category A  are not required to provide a negative COVID-19 test.

Arrivals from 17 countries in Category B need proof they have tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of boarding their flight to Cyprus.

The UK, Cyprus’ biggest tourist market, is currently in category C along with Sweden, Portugal, and Serbia, but is to be moved into category B .

The European Union has decided to remove Serbia and Montenegro from its safe list of countries from which non-essential travel is allowed.

EU ambassadors in Brussels agreed to reintroduce restrictions for citizens of Montenegro and Serbia, but the decision was awaiting approval by member states.

As a result, citizens of Montenegro and Serbia are to temporarily be banned from entering the European Union due to rising numbers of coronavirus infections.

The new list of safe countries now includes 12 countries, plus China, on the condition that Beijing if also allows in EU visitors.

No travel restrictions currently apply to passengers from; Australia, Georgia, Canada, New Zealand, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay, Japan and South Korea among others.

According to reports in Phileleftheros daily, Luxembourg and Cyprus had supported the inclusion on the list of the United Arab Emirates, based on data provided by Nicosia, but other countries opposed it.

Proposals from Cyprus to add Israel, Libya and Jordan to the list were also dropped.