COVID19: Cyprus deems only 8 countries ‘travel safe’

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Cyprus’ safe travel list is dwindling as there are now just eight countries from which travellers do not need to present a negative COVID-19 test to gain entry as fear of Europe’s second wave grow.

It will be knocking four countries entirely off the list while demoting another two from Category A (no test needed) to B (test needed before entry).

The Health Ministry has deemed Austria, Slovenia, Portugal and Switzerland as not safe enough to be included on the travel list.

Cyprus has also demoted another two countries, Canada and Norway, from Category A to B.

Currently, just four EU countries are among the eight left in low-risk Category A namely Germany, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania.

Following a revaluation of epidemiological data, the Health Ministry has removed Slovenia for the first time since it started issuing a ‘safe list’ when the airports reopened on June 9.

Also, knocked-off entirely were Austria, Portugal, and Switzerland.

Meanwhile, Serbia was the only country to be upgraded as it found its way back to category B, after being removed on 16 July.

Changes to the travel status of each country come into effect from Thursday, September 24.

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 (at own expense) 48 hours before ending their 14-day self-isolation.

Meanwhile, despite a surge in COVID-19 cases in mainland Greece with authorities there imposing local lockdowns, the country remains in category B.

Attica has gone into partial lockdown with people asked to curb movements while 40% of staff in the public and private sector will be working from home and many schools have been shut down.

Cyprus had earlier in August downgraded Greece to category B from A.

Visitors from the 8 classified Category A countries (down from 11 on September 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 apply 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,

Third countries: 1) Australia, 2) Thailand, 3) New Zealand, 4) South Korea

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 22 countries, down from 23.

EU member states: 1) Belgium, 2) Denmark, 3) Greece, 4) Estonia, 5) Ireland, 6) Italy, 7) Poland, 8) Sweden, 9) Slovakia, 10) UK

Members of Schengen: 1) Norway, 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, 6) Canada, 7) Serbia

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, 11) Austria, 12) Slovenia, 13) Portugal

Small States:  1) Andorra, 2) Monaco

Members of Schengen: 1) Switzerland

Third Countries: 1) Algeria, 2) Tunisia, 3) Morocco, 4) Montenegro

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.