COVID19: EU will check Cyprus cases for variants

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Cyprus, next week, will send about 4 – 8% of its positive coronavirus samples to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) for COVID-19 variant screening, the Health Ministry said.

According to the Ministry out of 24 positive samples examined between January 22-28 tested at the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics, nine belonged to the British variant.

No variants from South Africa and Brazil have been detected so far.

Screening for the coronavirus variant has been carried out at the Institute on a very small number of positive samples, starting from next week up to 8% of positive COVID-19 samples in Cyprus will be sent to the ECDC for further screening.

The ECDC has offered to screen a percentage of positive samples from EU member states, covering their transport and screening cost as it tries to ring-shield the block from dangerous variants.

Because of the more potent UK variant, Cyprus has imposed additional measures for UK arrivals 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 with 133 positive cases identified (positivity rate: 0.9 %).

Passenger arrivals at Cyprus airports will have to self-isolate for three days and take a Covid-19 test afterwards as authorities tighten checks to protect against new coronavirus variants entering the country.

From Saturday, people arriving in Cyprus from category A and B countries must self-isolate for three days and undertake a PCR test for coronavirus upon ending their quarantine.

Cyprus has 31,263 COVID-19 cases and 203 deaths since the outbreak.