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COVID19: Cyprus revises travel list, no EU country deemed safe

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As Cyprus steps up measures to safeguard its health system from crashing under the second COVID-19 wave, authorities have revised its safe travel list, knocking most countries into the high-risk category.

From January 18, just four countries are in category A, with travellers not required to present a negative COVID-19 test to gain entry, none of them are EU states.

With epidemiological data deteriorating across Europe and, Cyprus has knocked six countries entirely off the travel list while demoting South Korea and Japan from category A to B.

Category A – Low-risk countries

Only Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Thailand are in category A.

Visitors from the just four classified Category A countries (down from 11 on September 28) are not required to provide a negative COVID-19 test.

Category A includes 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) or/and classification of sporadic cases or clusters of cases according to the WHO or/and at least satisfactory lab testing (>3000 tests/100,000).

Category B – medium risk

Countries with R (t) above 1 and/or new cases of >1/100,000 or increased COVID-19 mortality (>10/100,000) and/or limited lab tests (<2000 tests/100,000 people) or lack of classification by WHO.

This category now includes only nine countries, of which just three are EU member: Greece, Germany, and Finland.

It also includes two members of the Schengen area, Iceland, and Norway; and four third countries: Japan, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), South Korea, and Rwanda.

Arrivals from countries in Category B need proof they have tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of boarding their flight to Cyprus.

Cypriots, residents, or those who can prove that testing is not available in their country of origin have the option of paying for a test (€60) at the airport upon arrival.

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.

Category C – High-risk countries

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.

These countries are:

  • EU Members: 1) Austria, 2) Belgium, 3) Bulgaria, 4) France, 5) Denmark, 6) Estonia, 7) Ireland, 8) Spain, 9) Italy, 10) Croatia, 11) Latvia, 12) Lithuania, 13) Luxemburg, 14) Malta, 15) Netherlands, 16) Hungary, 17) Poland, 18) Portugal, 19) Romania, 20) Slovakia, 21) Slovenia, 22) Sweden, 23) Czech Republic
  • United Kingdom
  • Small states: 1) Andorra, 2) Monaco, 3) Vatican City, 4) San Marino
  • Schengen countries: 1) Switzerland, 2) Liechtenstein
  • Third Countries: 1) Algeria, 2) Morocco, 3) Montenegro, 4) Serbia, 5) Uruguay

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.

New system

From March a, Cyprus will apply a new four-tier safe travel list, replacing the older three-category system, in a bid to boost connectivity and revive coronavirus-stricken tourism.

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.

Cyprus is the first country to do this in the EU.

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

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 must 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.