COVID19: Test requirement for China arrivals ends

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Health authorities have lifted the entry requirement for a negative 48-hour PCR test from all passengers arriving from China.

The government imposed the measure on 15 January, as Nicosia adopted EU recommendations following China’s COVID-19 outbreak.

The Health Ministry said the Cabinet had decided on Wednesday to lift the measure following an assessment of the epidemiological picture recorded in China.

Nicosia’s decision comes as the rest of the bloc agreed to phase out pre-departure COVID-19 testing for travellers from China by the end of the month.

The issue arose when China reopened its borders and abandoned its strict zero-COVID policies, with the EU imposing tests on arrivals from China.

A breakout had increased concerns as China’s suspected lack of transparent reporting on the virus, with some countries ramping up their entry requirements to prevent its spread.

Italy was one of the first European countries to tighten restrictions, ordering COVID-19 antigen swabs for all travellers from China – and was one of the first to ease them in late January.

Spain soon introduced testing requirements, followed by France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Cyprus.

Earlier last week, France had dropped all measures on Chinese arrivals.

Meanwhile, the island’s health authority has tweaked their COVID-19 vaccination policy, employing an adapted bivalent vaccine targeting the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 in addition to the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 as booster shots for children over the age of 5.

The Health Ministry announced that mRNA bivalent vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna are available for children over 12 at walk-in vaccination centres.

Children between the ages of 5 and 11 are offered Pfizer’s updated vaccine as a booster shot.

Three months must have elapsed since the last shot of the COVID vaccine.

Cyprus has reported 647,031 coronavirus infections and a death toll of 1,297 since the pandemic started in March 2020.