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COVID19: Spain, Portugal, Italy turn red

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Cyprus demoted three more EU countries to its high-risk red category on the safe travel list amid concerns over Omicron, the new COVID-19 variant threatening another wave of infections.

As the European Union waits for scientists to deliver their verdict on Omicron, already worsening epidemiological data has seen Spain, Portugal and Italy go from orange to red, along with South Korea.

In the only upgrade in the past two weeks, Indonesia moves from orange to the safest green category.

The Health Ministry’s latest travel assessment sees its red category widen as 24 of the EU27 in the high-risk category where a COVID test is needed before departure and after arrival in Cyprus.

With the addition of Indonesia, the green category now has only five countries. Four countries from the Middle East, namely the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.

There are 15 countries in the orange category where a negative test is needed before departure to Cyprus; just two are EU members.

The travel changes come into effect on Thursday, 2 December.

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

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

Meanwhile, Cyprus has blocked entry to eight African countries after the new coronavirus variant was detected.

Last Friday, Cyprus banned the arrival and entry of any person who, during the last 14 days, has either resided or passed through South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, and Botswana.

The island is witnessing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, reporting 586 new cases on Monday, the highest since August.

Health authorities had contained an outbreak peaking at 1,152 cases in mid-July, only to spiral beyond 500 in November.

Cyprus has confirmed over 133,860 infections and 594 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, Indonesia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia

ORANGE

Orange countries are those of higher risk than green.

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

  • European Union: Greece, Malta
  • Third Countries: Argentina, Australia, Japan, Israel, Canada, Qatar, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Colombia, Namibia, New Zealand, Uruguay, Rwanda, Chile

Namibia remains in the orange category despite being amongst the eight African countries for which Cyprus has placed an entry ban due to the emergence of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant.

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, France, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Finland
  • Small states: Andorra, Monaco, Vatican City, San Marino
  • Schengen Members: Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway
  • Third Countries: Egypt, Armenia, Georgia, United States of America, United Kingdom, Jordan, Belarus, Lebanon, South Korea, 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.