COVID19: Cyprus has randomly tested 27,000 arrivals

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In almost two months since Cyprus reopened its airports, health authorities have randomly tested more than 27,000 passenger arrivals for coronavirus to prevent a resurgence of the outbreak from importing cases.

The Health Ministry announced Tuesday that a total of 27,334 arrivals (around 11.25%) were tested for COVID-19 from 9 June – when the Paphos and Larnaca International airports reopened – to 2 August.

Cyprus has a three-tier risk system in grouping countries where travel is either unrestricted, allowed with a PCR test, or permitted with a PCR test and compulsory 14-day quarantine.

It is thought to be one of the first countries to introduce such a system.

Countries are classified into 3 categories, with passengers from Category A subject to random checks, while Category B passengers need to carry a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before boarding a plane.

Cypriots or residents can be tested at the airport on their return.

Category C passengers need to carry a negative test but have to also self-isolate for 14 days.

The ministry said Austria had just applied the same rules for a negative COVID-19 test only last week whereas Germany will be following this week.

Authorities had initially decided to check 300 passengers a day, but this decision was reassessed and doubled to 600.

The number of random tests has now been increased 1,000 daily while health authorities are carrying out an additional batch of tests on people flying in from Greece until August 6.

A majority of tests have taken place in the last two weeks, as almost 16,000 tests were carried out.

During July 20-August 2 a total of 11,860 random tests were conducted on arrivals of which 4,057 were on 34 flights from Greece, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Poland, Hungary, Finland, Austria and the UK.