Cyprus is launching a new colour-coded safe travel health assessment risk on March 1 to help restore connectivity, tourist arrivals lost to pandemic restrictions.
From March 1, Cyprus will apply a new four-tier traffic light system for visitors from 56 countries allowed entry without having to quarantine.
They include EU member states and third countries such as Britain, Russia, and Israel, among its main feeder markets.
Fears relating to more potent variants of the virus originated from the UK, South Africa and Brazil will have authorities on their toes for the first month, asking all arrivals to get tested upon arrival.
Adopting a phased-in approach, authorities said all arrivals until March 31 from ‘green’ countries would require a free PCR test upon arrival, with the requirement lifted from April 1.
Individuals arriving from ‘orange’ countries need a PCR test 72 hours before travel, and those in the red will need a double PCR test, before and upon arrival to the island.
The new scheme will replace the current three-category system to encourage travellers to choose Cyprus for a getaway next summer.
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, with the bloc expressing its concerns over the practice.
Other travellers will have to meet the requirements set for their country of origin.
The Green tier is for low-risk COVID-19 countries, from which arrivals are free to enter.
Until 31 March visitors from these countries will be asked to get tested free upon arrival, from April 1 they will be allowed to enter without any requirement.
The orange tier includes countries with a higher risk, and passengers must present a negative coronavirus test, taken within the past 72 hours.
Until 31 March they will also be asked to be tested at the airport.
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 ‘Gray’ tier 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 for 14 days upon arrival.
Country coding would be reviewed every week.
Discovery of a more potent strain of the virus identified in Britain, UK arrivals must undergo a laboratory test upon their arrival at Larnaca or Paphos Airports and they are transported to designated hotels – free of charge – for mandatory 7-day isolation.
After that they undergo another PCR test, and if negative will remain in self-isolation for another 3 days.
The Transport Ministry extended the practice until March 31.
- For EU and European Economic Area countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) including Switzerland from the 1 March, categorization of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) will be followed; that is the green, orange or red
- For March, the evaluation of third countries (United Kingdom, Russia, Ukraine, Israel, Lebanon, UAE, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Belarus) as well as of the European Council Recommendation list of third countries, will be carried out by the Ministry of Health which will classify them as green, orange, red and grey.
- From 1 April 2021, third countries will be evaluated and classified according to the green, orange, or red categories, based on the ECDC criteria. In addition to the United Kingdom, Russia, Ukraine, Israel, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Belarus, the following shall be added: Serbia, Qatar, Bahrain, United States, Armenia and Georgia.
- Countries not included in the above countries will be classified in special permit category – Grey.