COVID19: Tests for China arrivals, mask recommendation for airports

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Cyprus will recommend wearing face masks at airports while introducing COVID-19 testing for travellers from China.

Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela will present a set of COVID measures drawn up by scientists before the Cabinet on Wednesday.

The Health Ministry recommends mask-wearing for all flights to Cyprus and the island’s airports.

Travellers from China must take a COVID-19 test no more than 48 hours before their flight, falling in line with EU recommendations.

“Passengers departing from China will have to present a negative Covid test before leaving the country, while arrivals from China will be subjected to random testing on arrival,” said the ministry.

Hadjipantela reassured, “there is no reason for panic” and that the mutated strain of the coronavirus introduced in China has been present in Cyprus since August 2022.

In Europe, the XBB.1.5 subvariant is being detected in small but growing numbers, WHO/Europe officials said at a press briefing on Tuesday.

XBB.1.5 is the most transmissible Omicron subvariant that has been detected, according to reports from health experts.

Although more transmissible, no evidence suggests that it causes more severe disease.

In comments to state radio CyBC last week, EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides confirmed that European nations recommended imposing new restrictions on travellers from China amid fears of an increase in Covid cases.

“Unity and uniformity in decisions are the Union’s biggest weapon in the fight to end the pandemic”.

She noted that despite the high-level alarm, member states are fairly protected against a new wave of infections from the spike of cases in China due to high vaccine coverage and the fact that variants prevailing in China have been circulating in Europe for some months.