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COVID19: Cyprus creates new travel list, boosts connectivity

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Cyprus on Thursday approved a new four-tier safe travel list, replacing the older three-category system, in a bid to boost connectivity and revive coronavirus-stricken tourism.

The list, approved by the cabinet and later presented by Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos, is effective from 1 March 2021.

It aims to encourage travellers to choose Cyprus for a getaway next summer.

According to the scheme, passengers who can prove they are vaccinated against COVID-19 will not need to present a negative PCR test upon arrival.

Other travellers will have to meet the requirements set for their country of origin.

Karousos said Cyprus will be drawing up its safe travel list based on European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) guidelines.

EU, European Economic Area countries, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, countries on the European Council’s list of third countries, Russia, Ukraine, Israel, Lebanon, UAE, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Belarus will be classified in the Green, Orange and Red categories.

The Green tier is for low-risk COVID-19 countries, from which arrivals are free to enter.

The orange tier includes countries with a higher risk, and passengers must present a negative coronavirus test, taken within the past 72 hours.

The Red tier means travellers can enter if they carry a negative PCR test and undergo another test upon their arrival at the airport. Passengers from countries in this tier will not have to self-isolate.

A fourth category has been introduced, called the ‘Gray’ tier for which travellers will need a ‘special permit’ if they are not Cypriots or residents.

Passengers arriving from countries in this category must submit a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours before departure and self-isolate upon arrival in accordance with the instructions of the Health Ministry.

All third countries not categorised in the Green, Orange and Red categories automatically go in the Gray tier.

Cyprus applies a three-category safe list A, B and C, and currently, no EU country is in category A, from where visitors do not need to provide a negative COVID-19 test.

The cabinet also approved a 6-month extension of the temporary Incentive Plan for airlines who fly to the island.

“This is an incentive scheme that has received positive reviews from airlines and has been described at European Union level as a Best Practice Plan,” said Karousos.

“This scheme gives incentives to the airlines, giving them a certain amount per passenger for flying with a capacity between 41% -70%,” he added.