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COVID19: Cyprus removed from UK travel corridor

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With coronavirus cases soaring, UK Transport Minister Grant Shapps on Thursday removed Cyprus from Britain’s safe travel list.

People arriving in the UK from Cyprus will have to quarantine from Sunday.

The travel corridor list is reviewed every Thursday with Shapps delivering the bad news via Twitter.

“TRAVEL CORRIDOR UPDATE: We are REMOVING CYPRUS and LITHUANIA from the Travel Corridor list. From 4 am Sunday 1st November, if you arrive into the UK from these destinations you will need to self-isolate,” tweeted Shapps.

“We are NOT adding any countries to the list of TRAVEL CORRIDORS this week,” he added.

Despite worsening COVID data, Cyprus escaped the chop last week, but its cases have continued to remain over 100.

Countries not included on the travel corridor list require Britons returning to the UK to quarantine for 14 days.

The government has been using data based on a country’s coronavirus case rate per 100,000 people over a seven-day period.

Previously, countries with more than 20 cases per 100,000 people over this period were at risk of being removed from the list.

The UK is allowing for a higher rate of infection, with the new threshold reported to be 100 cases per 100,000 people.

According to Paul Charles, the CEO of travel consultancy the PC Agency, the new criteria has meant that more countries are now out of the “red zone” and in the “safe zone”.

Cyprus added to the quarantine list is a turn-off for British tourists and Cypriots travelling to the UK.

It had remained safe on the travel corridor list for months with Britain being its major tourist market.

According to the latest figures from the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC), Cyprus has recorded 111.7 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people in its population over a seven-day period.

This is well above the UK’s new and previous thresholds.

Cyprus has recorded 4,051 cases and 25 deaths since the outbreak.

Germany was also at risk of losing its travel corridor after recording a “200 percent increase in positive infections” over the last two weeks.

But it escaped the chop, unlike Cyprus.

However, the UK’s own infection rate is 232.6 cases per 100,000 over a seven-day period which is above both Cyprus and Germany.