Cyprus to welcome vaccinated UK nationals to enter from May: minister

Paphos Airport (Photo: Famagusta Gazette)

United Kingdom (UK) nationals who have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will be allowed to enter Cyprus without any restrictions as of May 1, Cyprus’ Deputy Minister of Tourism Savvas Perdios said here on Friday.

Perdios told CyBC television that Cyprus had already informed the UK government of its decision.

“They can come here without needing a negative COVID-19 test and without needing to quarantine,” Perdios said.

He said the government also decided that tourists from the UK would be allowed into Cyprus as of April 1, provided that the UK is categorized as a green country under the new traffic lights color classification — green, orange and red, plus a fourth grey category — which came into effect on March 1.

People from grey countries are only allowed into Cyprus under a special permit.

The UK is currently categorized as a grey country, but it is expected to be upgraded because of the large number of people who have already been vaccinated.

After the re-classification, UK travelers will be allowed into Cyprus provided they have a negative coronavirus test certificate issued 72 hours before boarding.

The re-classification of the UK is expected to give a boost to the revival of tourism, which was down by almost 85.4 percent in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The UK is Cyprus’ largest source of tourists, contributing about 21 percent to the country’s annual gross domestic product (GDP).

The arrangement with the UK comes on the heels of an agreement between Cyprus and Israel to mutually accept without any restrictions people who have been vaccinated and wish to travel between the two countries.

The agreement is scheduled to come into effect on April 1.

UK press reports said that travel agencies have already made thousands of bookings for vacations in Cyprus and other countries for people who have been vaccinated.

Cypriot authorities have said that they will take random samples from travelers upon arrival. They also warned that those who arrive in the country must observe the health protocols in force aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus, meaning wearing a face mask, social distancing and observing basic personal hygiene.