Despite worsening coronavirus in the EU, Cyprus has upgraded Romania on its safe travel list from the high-risk red category to orange.
Romania joins Greece as the only two EU member states remaining outside the red category, in the only change to the island’s safe travel list assessment, the Health Ministry said.
With the more transmissible Omicron variant now detected in over 85 countries, no upgrades are expected to Cyprus’ safest green category on the travel list.
Most EU countries were on the red list before the discovery of the new variant.
Cyprus has detected more than 30 cases of the more transmissible Omicron, with experts expecting that the variant could trigger a fifth larger wave of infections, smashing July’s record of 1,152 cases.
There are 14 countries in the orange category where a negative test is needed before departure to Cyprus.
The new classification comes into effect on Thursday, 23 December.
The Health Ministry’s latest travel assessment sees 24 of the EU27 in the red where a COVID test is needed before departure and after arrival in Cyprus.
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 highest dark red category, which most EU states use for safe travel lists.
Meanwhile, after Omicron was detected, Cyprus has blocked entry to eight African countries (South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, and Botswana).
Regardless of their vaccination status, all arrivals must get a PCR test at their own expense (€15).
Arrivals must also undergo an additional free rapid test 72 hours after arriving on the island.
Cyprus has confirmed over 145,161 infections and 620 deaths since March 2020.
Under the colour-coded system, there is no mandatory self-isolation for tourists entering Cyprus from the EU unless they test positive for COVID-19.
Regardless of category, unvaccinated tourists staying for more than a week must get tested on the seventh day of their holiday.
Cyprus has toughened COVID-19 screening for all travellers from the UK over age 12, including requiring them to quarantine until results from airport PCR tests are known.
The Health Ministry cited Britain’s “drastic increase” in omicron variant cases as the reason for the stepped-up measures.
Under the new rules, arriving passengers who test positive at Cyprus’ airport must remain in isolation until Health Ministry officials contact them with further instructions.
At the airport, passengers also will receive five rapid test kits that they must use during their stay if their PCR tests are negative.
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 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, Romania
- Third Countries: Australia, Japan, Israel, Canada, Qatar, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Colombia, New Zealand, Uruguay, Rwanda
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, Malta, Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Finland
- Small states: Andorra, Monaco, Vatican City, San Marino
- Schengen Area: Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway
- Third Countries: Egypt, Argentina, Armenia, Georgia, United States of America, United Kingdom, Jordan, Belarus, Lebanon, South Korea, Oman, Ukraine, Peru, Russia, Serbia, Chile
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.