Cyprus could see an influx of British tourists in late summer, as the UK government is expected to allow vaccinated Britons to travel quarantine-free to amber destinations from 26 July.
Fully vaccinated Britons could fly to an ‘amber’ destination as the UK government is drafting plans to lift the need to quarantine on their holiday return.
As reported in British media, ministers are pushing to have Britons allowed to travel worry-free to amber countries from 26 July, in time for the school holidays.
Scrapping the quarantine requirement for the double-vaccinated could potentially reopen dozens of countries for foreign travel in what would represent a massive boost for the coronavirus-stricken tourism, among them Cyprus’ struggling sector.
The UK government is currently advising against travel to and from ‘amber list’ countries.
People returning must self-isolate for 10 days and are obligated to take two costly PCR tests after arrival.
The change in plans is believed to have been prompted by the appointment of Sajid Javid as Health Secretary, viewed as more hawkish on easing restrictions than his predecessor Matt Hancock.
Flirting with red
The change in plans comes as Cypriot tourism stakeholders saw the summer season dangerously closing.
The UK had dashed the island’s hopes of welcoming thousands of British tourists, keeping Cyprus in the ‘no-go’ amber category.
However, any wiggle room created by allowing double-jabbed Britons to travel to amber destinations may be blown to pieces as a new outbreak could put Cyprus in the dreaded red category.
Cyprus tourism may not benefit as the country’s epidemiological data has taken a turn for the worst.
The UK classifies countries in its traffic light coloured travel list using a complex formula that considers the number of cases, the ratio of cases infected with the more contagious Delta variant of the virus, and vaccination rates.
Cyprus went from reporting double-digit daily COVID-19 cases for two weeks running in June to reporting cases well into the hundreds by the end of the month.
Scientists believe the Delta variant is largely responsible for the increase in cases on the island.
Authorities reported 429 cases on Wednesday, taking the total to 75,860, while 378 deaths have been recorded.