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COVID19: Cyprus removes Malta, Spain, Australia from safe list

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Cyprus removed Malta from its ‘safe’ travel list of countries, after a spike in cases recorded in the island nation with a population of just over 500,000, earlier in the month.

Malta has been downgraded from Category A (no Covid-19 test required), directly to C, effective from Friday, August 20.

Malta, like Cyprus, was once viewed a success story in handling the coronavirus as it had been reporting zero or single-digit cases since the end of May only to see the virus take a grip over the country in August with daily cases reaching close to triple digits.

The country reported a record 78 cases on 12 August, on Monday Malta reported 69 new cases of COVID-19.

Malta had reached a peak of 52 cases on 7 April during what is believed to have been the first wave.

Due to worsening epidemiological data, another two countries were knocked off Cyprus’ safe list, as Australia and Spain were demoted from category B to C.

Entry to Cyprus from category C countries is only allowed for Cypriots, residents, and people with a special permit.

People arriving from these countries need to carry a coronavirus negative test, undergo another test upon arrival and then self-isolate.

Arrivals from category C countries will need to repeat the test 48 hours before ending their 14-day self-isolation.

Japan was also demoted from category A to B, meaning arrivals from Lisbon would need to secure a negative Covid-19 test no more than 72 hours prior to travel to Cyprus.

Japan joins category B which includes the UK which was included on 1 August, and Greece which was demoted from category A on 4 August.

Cyprus downgrading Greece to category B had infuriated tour operators and hoteliers in Greece, with many cancelling their holidays, fearing an increasing rate of infections.

Greece is the number one holiday destinations for Cypriots – who will also need to get tested upon their return home.

Visitors from the 20 classified Category A countries are not required to provide a negative COVID-19 test.

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

All passengers, irrespective of category, are obliged to submit an application online for CyprusFlightPass (https://cyprusflightpass.gov.cy/) within 24 hours of departure.

Passenger arrivals are also randomly tested at the airports.

Group A – Low-risk countries

These are countries with R (t) of below 1 and/or a small number of new cases (<1/100,000 inhabitants a day)  and/or very low COVID19 mortality  (<5-10/100,000 inhabitants) and/or sporadic cases or cluster of cases according to WHO and /or at least satisfactory tests (>3000 tests/100,000 residents):

EU members: 1) Austria, 2) Germany, 3) Denmark, 4) Estonia, 5) Ireland, 6) Latvia, 7) Lithuania, 8) Hungary, 9) Slovakia, 10) Slovenia, 11) Finland.

Members of Schengen: 1) Switzerland, 2) Iceland, 3) Liechtenstein, 4) Norway.

Third countries: 1) Georgia, 2) Canada, 3) New Zealand, 4) South Korea, 5) Thailand.

Group B

These are countries with R (t) above 1 and/or new cases of  >1/100,000 people a day and/or increased COVID-19 mortality (>10/100,000 people)  and/or limited lab tests  (<2000 tests/100,000 people) or lack of classification by WHO.

The Category now includes 19 countries.

EU members: 1) Belgium, 2) France, 3) Greece, 4) Italy, 5) Croatia, 6) The Netherlands 7) the Czech Republic, 8) the UK, 9) Poland, 10) Portugal.

Small nations: 1) Andorra, 2) Monaco, 3) Vatican City, 4) San Marino.

Third countries: 1) Japan, 2) Ruanda, 3) Tunisia, 4) Uruguay, 5) China.

Category C

EU Member state 1) Bulgaria, 2) Sweden, 3) Luxembourg, 4) Romania, 5) Spain, 6) Malta.

Third countries: 1) Algeria, 2) Serbia, 3) Morocco, 4) Montenegro, 5) Australia.

Category C passengers need to carry a negative COVID-19 test, get tested again on arrival and self-quarantine for 14 days and repeat the test before their quarantine is over.

Cyprus cases jump

Meanwhile, daily cases reported in Cyprus remained at double-digit levels during August, with a few exemptions in between, prompting several countries to demote Cyprus from their safelists.

Ireland has knocked Cyprus of its ‘Green List’ while Estonia has banned direct flights from Cyprus, as it joined a band of countries including France and Denmark which have surpassed the limit set for new coronavirus cases.

The limit was imposed by Estonia which sets a ceiling of 25 COVID-19 infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the preceding 14 days; countries whose reported rates are higher see direct air links to and from Estonia forbidden.

Cyprus on Monday reported 12 new coronavirus cases.

The island’s health authorities had kept cases below 10 for a period of two months, from 28 April until 29 July when they had reported 13 cases.

Two days later daily cases had reached 29, while 26 cases were reported on 2 August and 25 on 4 August.