Every passenger arrival in Cyprus must undergo mandatory PCR testing for COVID-19 after the country introduced tighter measures in the wake of the new Omicron variant.
All passengers aged over 12 arriving at a port of entry, regardless of vaccination status, must take a PCR test at their own expense (15 euros), the cabinet decided on Thursday.
The new measures come into effect from 6 December until 10 January, when they will be reassessed.
“The Minister of Transport pointed out the need for temporary measures at the Republic’s entry points, given the detection of the new virus strain Omicron, recorded in African and European countries,” said a transport ministry statement.
It said cruise passengers entering ports for a short stay must hold a negative PCR test with a validity of up to 72 hours.
Upon arrival, they will be required to undergo a rapid antigen detection test, paid for by the government.
Random PCR testing is currently conducted at the island’s two international airports to monitor imported coronavirus cases.
Cyprus has yet to detect the Omicron variant in its territory.
Last week it banned entry to people from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, and Botswana.
Health authorities are witnessing daily cases peaking above 600, their highest level since August.
Cyprus is trying to improve its adult vaccination rate, which is around 81 per cent, with over 67.5 per cent of the population covered.
Booster shots are gradually being made available to everyone over 18, and Cyprus expects to start vaccinating children aged 5 to 11 from late December.
Cyprus has reported a total of 134,965 COVID-19 cases and 598 deaths.