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COVID19: No EU country in safest travel zone

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No EU state is currently on Cyprus’ COVID-19 safest green travel list after health authorities demoted Malta to the riskier orange category.

At the same time, Israel was promoted to orange, up from the high-risk red, while Andorra drops to red from orange.

Most EU countries, 20, are now in the high-risk category where a COVID test is needed before and after arrival.

Cyprus’ green category has only four countries, all from the Middle East, namely the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.

Following a review by the European Commission, three South American and one African country were added to the list of third countries from which non-essential travel to the EU is allowed.

Argentina, Columbia, and Namibia were classified in the Orange Category, while Peru was slotted into the Red Category.

There are 22 countries in the orange category where a negative test is needed before departure to Cyprus; just six are EU members.

The travel changes come into effect on Thursday, 18 November.

The island bases its weekly epidemiological risk report on the equivalent list issued by the European Centre for Disease Control.

Cyprus is in the high-risk red category of ECDC’s ranking, which most EU members use to their safe travel lists.

After briefly turning orange, the island returned to the ECDC’s red category classification in October.

Health authorities have now contained a surge in cases to the low hundreds from a peak of 1,152 daily infections, mainly thanks to its high vaccination rate, with over 80% of the adult population receiving a COVID-19 jab.

However, a recent uptick in cases has authorities on the alert once more.

Cyprus has confirmed over 128,000 infections and 588 deaths since March 2020.

Under the colour-coded system, there is no mandatory quarantine for tourists entering Cyprus from the EU.

Cyprus also keeps its doors open to fully vaccinated tourists to boost arrivals that plunged 84.1% last year, regardless of their country of origin.

Tourists allowed unconditional entry must have a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) — Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Moderna or Janssen.

Russia’s SputnikV and China’s Sinopharm are also accepted vaccines by Cyprus.

Regardless of category, unvaccinated tourists staying for more than a week must get tested on the seventh day of their holiday.

GREEN

Under the COVID assessment scheme, low-risk countries currently classified in the green category are:

  • Third Countries: United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia

ORANGE

Orange countries are those of higher risk than green.

Passengers must have undergone a PCR laboratory test within 72 hours before departure and have a certificate proving they tested negative for the virus.

  • European Union: France, Greece, Spain, Italy, Malta, Portugal
  • Small states: Monaco, Vatican City
  • Third Countries: Argentina, Australia, Japan, Israel, Canada, Qatar, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Colombia, Namibia, New Zealand, South Korea, Uruguay, Rwanda, Chile

RED

This category includes countries of higher risk than orange.

Passengers coming from red category countries are required: a) to prove a negative PCR test carried out under 72 hours before departure, and b) undergo another PCR test upon arrival in Cyprus. The cost of the test is charged to the individual.

  • European Union: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Finland
  • Small States: Andorra, San Marino
  • Schengen Area: Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway
  • Third Countries: Egypt, Armenia, Georgia, United States of America, United Kingdom, Jordan, Belarus, Lebanon, Oman, Ukraine, Peru, Russia, Serbia

GREY

All the rest. Arrivals are allowed entry after acquiring special permission, only if they are Cypriot citizens or entitled to enter, such as people with a work permit.

Passengers must undergo a coronavirus test under 72 hours before their trip and have a certificate they tested negative for Covid-19.

Grey category passengers must remain in self-isolation for 14 days or seven if they choose to carry out another coronavirus PCR test with a negative result on the seventh day.