From Saturday, people arriving in Cyprus from category A and B countries will have to self-isolate for three days and undertake a PCR test for coronavirus upon ending their quarantine.
Currently, passengers from category A destinations do not need to present a negative PCR test to gain entry while those from category B countries require one but do not need to self-isolate.
Following concerns over new potent strains of coronavirus infiltrating Europe, Cyprus health authorities have decided to step up measures for arrivals at the country’s airports.
A statement issued by the Health Ministry on Wednesday said additional measures will be imposed, according to the country they originate from.
The decision was taken bearing in mind evidence of increased transmissibility and aggressive spread of the new SARS-CoV-2 variants.
Health authorities across the globe are concerned over a mutation, that took place in South Africa, which may not respond to COVID vaccines available.
The Health Ministry said passengers arriving from Category B countries are still obliged to present a negative PCR test carried out 72 hours before their departure while random testing continues to be carried out at Larnaca and Paphos airports.
The ministry reminded travellers that, irrelevant of their country of departure, they will have to fill in the Cyprus Flight Pass.
Cost for the PCR test to be carried out 72 hours after their arrival will be undertaken by the individual.
Currently, 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.
Cyprus has implemented additional measures for passengers from the UK with mandatory isolation for 7 days in government-designated hotels, testing on arrival and at the end of quarantine.
Since 21 December, more than 15,000 UK passengers were tested and 133 positive cases were identified (positivity rate: 0.9 %).
Category A – Low-risk countries
Only Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Thailand are in this category.
Category B – medium risk
This category now includes only nine countries, of which just three are EU members: 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.
Cyprus is planning to introduce a new four-tier safe travel list from 1 March, doing away with quarantines.
The new classification system replaces the current three-tier system, in a bid to boost connectivity and revive coronavirus-stricken tourism.
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 classified in the Green, Orange, and Red categories.