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COVID19: Thomas Cook cuts Cyprus holidays

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British global travel group Thomas Cook has said its dropping Cyprus holiday packages and flights from its programme after the island was added to the UK’s travel quarantine list.

The announcement came from the company in a tweet on Friday.

“Sadly, we’ve had to remove Cyprus holidays from our site.

We’re speaking to customers on holiday there at the moment or due to go in the next few weeks. If you have any questions about your booking, please call or message us. We’ll be online til 10 pm this evening,” tweeted Thomas Cook.

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 development came after Cyprus failed to keep a lid on new daily coronavirus cases, with the health authorities reporting triple-digit daily cases.

The coronavirus second wave is now widespread in Cyprus with the 14-day cumulative rate of COVID-19 reaching its highest point at 158.1 per 100,000 population.

Cyprus latest 14-day cumulative rate updated until 24 October is the highest recorded since the pandemic broke out in March.

It is three times higher than the rate recorded during the peak first wave of the pandemic in early April when Cyprus’ rate was slightly over 50 for the first two weeks in April.

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 over a seven-day period.

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

Reportedly, British holidaymakers currently in Cyprus are cutting their holidays short and desperately trying to find a ticket back before Sunday when people coming from Cyprus will have to start quarantining.

The Express quoted Noel Josephides of Sunvil travel agency saying: “It may cost them more than staying to complete their holiday.”

“It depends on whether they can afford to buy an expensive return ticket back.”

“With so many people working from home, quarantine is not so bad for most people.”

Referring to those who have paid for their vacation but have not yet left, refunding will depend on the type of holiday they had planned.

“99% of holiday packages will be cancelled, as people are unlikely to want to be quarantined,” Josephides said.

Cyprus has recorded over 4,100 COVID-19 cases and 25 deaths since the outbreak.