The number of European destinations on Cyprus’ safe travel list is shrinking rapidly, as there are now just four EU states from which tourists do not need to present a negative COVID-19 test to gain entry.
The ‘safe list’ is getting shorter as Cyprus demoted another two from Category A (no test needed) to B (test needed) while knocking another two EU countries entirely off, following a resurgence of COVID-19 in Europe.
Following a revaluation of epidemiological data, the Health Ministry has removed Hungary and the Czech Republic for the first time since it started issuing a ‘safe list’ when the airports reopened on June 9.
As a result, the only EU member states in Cyprus’ A category are Germany, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania.
Hungary was knocked-off the list, after being demoted to category B following a surge of cases found amongst passengers on flights from Budapest and Debrecen.
Norway, which has a special relationship status as a member of the Schengen Agreement, is still in category A.
Estonia and Georgia were demoted from category A to B, leaving category A with just 10 countries in total, down from 11 on 5 September.
Meanwhile, Australia found its way back to category A after being entirely removed on August 20.
Rwanda also returned to the Cyprus safe list, taking a spot in category B after being entirely removed earlier in August.
Changes to the travel status of each country come into effect from Friday, September 18.
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 for 14 days.
Arrivals from category C countries will need to repeat the test 48 hours before ending their 14-day self-isolation.
Meanwhile, despite a surge in COVID-19 cases in mainland Greece with authorities there contemplating local lockdowns, the country remains in category B.
Cyprus had earlier in August downgraded Greece to category B from A.
Visitors from the 11 classified Category A countries (down from 15 on August 28) 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 must submit an application online for CyprusFlightPass (https://cyprusflightpass.gov.cy/) within 24 hours of departure.
Passenger arrivals are also randomly tested at the airports, Cypriots have the option of paying for a test (€60) on their return.
Category A – Low-risk countries
Included in this category are countries with an effective reproduction (Rt) number lower than 1 or/and a small number of new diagnoses (<1/100,000 inhabitants per day) or/and small or very small COVID-19 mortality (<5-10/100,000 inhabitants) or/and classification of sporadic cases or clusters of cases according to the WHO or/and at least satisfactory laboratory testing (>3000 tests/100,000 inhabitants).
EU member states 1) Germany, 2) Finland, 3) Latvia, 4) Lithuania,
Members of Schengen: 1) Norway
Third countries: 1) Australia, 2) Canada, 3) New Zealand, 4) South Korea, 5) Thailand
Category B – Low risk but higher than A
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.
This category now includes 23 countries.
EU member states: 1) Austria, 2) Belgium, 3) Denmark, 4) Greece, 5) Ireland, 6) Italy, 7) Poland, 8) Portugal, 9) Sweden, 10) Slovakia, 11) the UK, 12) Slovenia, 13) Estonia
Members of Schengen: 1) Switzerland, 2) Iceland, 3) Lichtenstein
Small nations: 1) the Vatican, 2) San Marino
Third Countries: 1) Uruguay, 2) China (including Hong Kong), 3) Japan, 4) Georgia, 5) Ruanda
Category C – High-risk countries
EU Member States: 1) Bulgaria, 2) France, 3) Croatia, 4) Luxemburg, 5) Romania, 6) Spain, 7) Malta, 8) Netherlands, 9) Hungary, 10) Czech Republic
Small States: 1) Andorra, 2) Monaco
Third Countries: 1) Algeria, 2) Serbia, 3) Morocco, 4) Montenegro, 5) Tunisia,
All countries not included in categories A or B are placed in this category. Some of the countries which are of high risk according to their epidemiological picture are mentioned above.