All passengers arriving from the UK will have to quarantine for a minimum of seven days in a state-designated facility, the Health Ministry announced Monday changing earlier plans on self-isolation.
The move comes after some EU countries banned UK flights when Britain said it had found a new strain of the coronavirus.
Cyprus opted against an outright ban on flights from the UK as other European Union countries have done.
Initially, Cyprus’ health authorities announced on Sunday that all passengers arriving from the UK would have to self-isolate for 14 days or 10 days provided they undergo a negative PCR test within that period.
Passengers from the UK will now be taken to a designated hotel paid for by the state after they undergo a PCR test at the airport. The measures come into place at 6 pm on Monday.
The quarantine requirement for passengers arriving at Larnaca or Paphos airports is irrespective of the PCR test they must undergo when they land.
The measure is compulsory for all passenger over the age of 18, whilst minors have the choice to self-isolate at home.
People under state quarantine will undergo a PCR test after seven days. If they are found to be negative to the virus, they will be instructed to self-isolate at home for another three days.
Given that they do not develop symptoms, people can end their isolation after the tenth day.
If symptoms occur during the self-isolation period people must call a doctor, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry said that positive samples taken from passengers arriving from the UK last week will be sent to the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics.
It will be check if these cases were infected by the new strain detected in the UK.
“The new data is being evaluated by the scientific advisory committee and any new suggestions that may come up will be announced.”
European countries started banning flights coming from the UK on Sunday as the government in London warned that a potent new strain of the virus was “out of control”.
Britain’s European neighbours began closing their doors amid alarm about a rapidly spreading strain of coronavirus that has caused cases to soar there.
France has banned all people and cargo coming from the UK for 48 hours from Sunday night, whether by road, air, sea or rail.
Germany, Italy and the Netherlands ordered a suspension of flights from Britain, while Ireland said it would also be imposing restrictions on flights and ferries from its neighbour.
Belgium closed its borders to flights and trains, including the popular Eurostar train service.
The moves come as around a third of England’s population entered a Christmas lockdown and UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned that the new strain of the virus was “out of control”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that millions of Britons would have to cancel their Christmas plans and stay home because the new strain was spreading far more quickly.
The development could be a setback for the revival of Cyprus’ tourism industry which was betting on mass vaccinations taking place in the UK.
The UK is a key market for Cyprus being its largest source of tourists while there is a sizeable British expat community on the island.