The intensive and coordinated efforts exerted by the Cyprus government for the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic have paid off, with excellent epidemiological results and comparatively few positive cases. The current situation in Cyprus is highly contained.
As a result, the government has announced the resumption of international air traffic to Cyprus as from 9th June 2020.
To safeguard the health of the public (visitors and locals alike) and to avoid the need for quarantine, several protocols will govern the process of entry, as well as the visitors’ stay in Cyprus. The relevant protocols can be found here. Below is a summary of the main points.
Entry into Cyprus
The Ministry of Health has carried out a risk assessment of various countries regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, and has classified them into low-risk countries (Category A) and increased-risk countries (Category B). The classification will be evaluated on a weekly basis and may be subject to frequent updates. The list of the relevant countries per category can be found in the Appendix below, and updated ones at any given time can be found here.
Passengers from both categories will be required to undertake an advance COVID-19 PCR test in their source countries within 72 hours prior to travelling to Cyprus.
As of 20th June 2020, visitors from Category A countries will no longer be required to undertake the aforementioned test prior to travelling to Cyprus.
On the other hand, visitors from Category B countries will be required to undertake this test within 72 hours prior to travelling. In case where the source country is unable to make PCR testing widely available to the public, compulsory testing will be required upon arrival in Cyprus, with the cost (estimated at €60) being borne by the visitor. Test results will be available within 24 hours, during which time visitors will be asked to self-isolate at their booked accommodation.
Finally, visitors from countries not included in either category will be allowed only in exceptional circumstances and after receiving prior approval by the Cyprus government (including transit travel).
A ‘Cyprus Flight Pass’ will be requested prior to boarding, and at border control at the destination. The Pass is available on www.cyprusflightpass.gov.cy and can be filed electronically. Copies will also be available at airport check-in counters.
The Pass will include a questionnaire and various confirmations, with the purpose being to ensure that the visitor has not travelled to any destinations not included in Category A or B, has not shown any COVID-19 symptoms, and has not knowingly been in touch with any COVID-19 patients, up to 14 days prior to visiting Cyprus.
What to expect before, during the flight, and upon arrival at Cyprus airports
Prior to boarding, travellers will be required to present their valid PCR test certificate (if applicable) and the Cyprus Flight Pass. Travellers temperature may possibly be taken prior to boarding. Moreover, the wearing of masks may be made compulsory during the flight. Upon arrival at the Cyprus airports, visitors will have their temperature taken at border control.
What to expect during the accommodation
Travellers should expect enhanced health, safety and hygiene protocols during their stay in Cyprus on a general basis for all hospitality establishments, including use of masks by staff, physical distancing, compulsory use of face masks for both staff and visitors where physical distancing is not possible (e.g. airports, taxis, buses, lifts), frequent aeration and disinfections of indoor areas, and availability of antibacterial gel in all establishments.
Some visitors will be asked, on a random basis, to undergo a COVID-19 test upon arrival, irrespective of their source country, with the cost being borne by the Cyprus government.
What happens to those who test positive during their stay?
For travellers who test positive during their stay in Cyprus, as well as their co-travellers and family members, the Cyprus government will cover the cost of lodging, food, drink and medication. The travellers will only need to bear the cost of their airport transfer and repatriation flight.
A COVID-19 hospital with 100 beds (which can be increased at short notice if required) will be made available exclusively for travellers who test positive. In addition, 112 intensive care units and 200 respirators are available for treatment of cases that display critical symptoms.
For close contacts of persons who test positive, 500 rooms will be made available in dedicated quarantine hotels (which can be increased at short notice if required).
APPENDIX: Table of countries
The countries that have been assessed for COVID-19 risk have been classified as either low-risk (Category A) or increased risk (Category B), as below. The classification is accurate as at 9 June 2020. The updated list at any given time can be found here.
Visitors from countries not included in either category will be allowed only in exceptional circumstances and after receiving prior approval by the Cyprus government (including transit travel).