COVID19: Foreign Office says Cyprus OK for non-essential travel

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Coronavirus-stricken tourism stakeholders have welcomed the UK decision to remove travel advice urging British nationals to avoid all but essential travel to Cyprus.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) said based on the current assessment of Covid-19 risks, Britons could travel to the Mediterranean island for non-essential reasons, overturning their previous advice.

News of the travel advice comes days before the UK is set to revaluate its COVID assessment of countries when updating its traffic light safe travel list.

Cyprus is on the UK’s amber list of countries, which means travellers have to take a COVID test within 72 hours before they travel back to the UK and spend 10 days in quarantine upon return, then take another test on day two and eight.

However, a recent UK government decision will allow fully vaccinated Britons to travel to amber countries without self-isolating from 19 July.

The Cyprus Hotel Association welcomed the development as one less obstacle in the path of British tourists.

“In the gloomy landscape caused by the pandemic crisis and Cyprus’ epidemiological performance, this development is like an oasis in the desert.

“We can be moderately optimistic that a dynamic trend from our traditional market will start to build over the next few weeks or even days,” said CHA Director-General Philokypros Rousounides.

He told the website Stockwatch that the lifting of the travel advisory means that British holidaymakers can make their travel arrangements, knowing that insurance companies will now have to compensate them for any last-minute cancellation or other unexpected problems.

However, the island is not yet in the clear; it may not be in the amber category after Thursday when the UK revaluates the safe travel list.

Last week, Cyprus was put in the highest risk ‘dark red’ zone by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) after registering 493.13 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over 14 days.

Cyprus was the only EU country slotted in the ‘dark red’ zone, deemed the riskiest from an epidemiological standpoint.

Although reports say it is unlikely to happen following the FCDO’s change of advice on Monday, it could see the island slip into the UK’s red category.

Cases remain stubbornly high, peaking at 993 last week.