Cyprus to introduce rapid coronavirus tests at airports

(Photo: Famagusta Gazette)

Cyprus will introduce rapid coronavirus tests at its airports in the next few days in an attempt to lure back tourists, a minister said here on Monday.

Transport, Communications and Works Minister Yiannis Karousos said the new test will give results in 90 minutes, adding that the government expects this to encourage more people to choose the eastern Mediterranean island for their vacations.

“This will make it possible to do away with the requirement for those arriving to stay at a hotel for at least one day until test results are known. With the new test travelers will know the results before they leave the airport,” Karousos said.

Under the current regulations, travelers flying in from “high-risk” (Category C) countries are required to present a negative COVID-19 test on arrival in Cyprus.

People who arrive from one of the 21 countries listed in Categories A and B will still be required to present a certificate for a test made 72 hours prior to embarkation.

As of next weekend, June 20, visitors from Category A countries, which list the 17 European Union (EU) member states and Norway, will be allowed to enter Cyprus without a certificate. Those arriving from Category B countries, comprising Israel and EU countries Romania and Poland, will continue to need a certificate.

Travelers arriving from Category C countries, which include the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain and Sweden, are still not allowed to enter Cyprus unless they are returning Cypriot nationals or holders of a special permit, such as diplomats.

According to the current plans, some of the Category C countries will be moved into Category B by the middle of July.

“We will give the opportunity to travelers to administer the rapid tests locally. This will solve many problems without compromising health security related to the coronavirus,” Karousos said.

Cyprus’ Health Ministry said that the number of new COVID-19 infections has been minimal over the last two weeks, mostly affecting people flying in from the United Kingdom. The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases stood at 985 on Monday.