The latest announcement bring the number of total coronavirus cases in Cyprus to 1,045, deaths 19, recovered 847.
Cyprus has placed its order for some 1.2 million of the COVID-19 vaccine Oxford University is working on with pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, through the European Union, the Health Ministry said this week. After epidemiologists advising the government on coronavirus urged health authorities to go ahead with ordering vaccines, the ministry said on Tuesday it has already moved on the matter. It said Cyprus is part of an EU commission collective which is in negotiations with AstraZeneca to acquire quantities of the vaccine to cover the needs of the whole bloc. The Health Ministry noted that the cooperation established at an EU level “will ensure that member states will not be going into separate negotiations, placing separate orders”.
The health ministry on Friday called on people working at gyms, malls, hotels, airports and other businesses offering services to make use of the coronavirus testing programme currently running, warning that complacency could damage the country’s good epidemiological outlook. The ministry said that so far 6,165 tests have been given of the 10,000 available to employees of businesses that resumed operations last month after lockdown relaxations and called on those who have not got tested to make use of the programme which will run until August 12.
Cyprus has halved its target for tourist arrivals in August to 100,000 since big tour operators exclude it from their offers because it requires a negative test for Covid-19 to be provided before entering country. This is Deputy Minister for Tourism Savvas Perdios said, adding that the Deputy Ministry is not considering revising downwards its target for 2020 as this depends on the epidemiological situation which still remains uncertain. The Ministry estimated last March that due to the Covid-19 pandemic and requirements for entering Cyprus tourist arrivals will amount to 25% of the tourist arrivals in 2019 (3.98 million) with 200,000 arrivals in August. However, the latest developments mainly in the UK, which represents roughly one third of the annual tourist arrivals, forced the Ministry to revise its target to just 100,000 in best-case scenario. The problem emerged as tour operators have notified Cyprus that they cannot include the island in their schedules as long as a negative test for Covid-19 is required to enter the country.
Passengers need to regain confidence in travelling by air, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said on Thursday. “The passenger must not only be safe but also feel safe,” he told his EU counterparts during a teleconference. In his speech, the minister said it is very important to restore air connectivity of the member states as soon as possible and that corrective measures should be taken which will allow the public to feel safe to travel with the airlines again. At the moment there is no uniformity within the European Union in terms of travel measures taken, as each country has its own criteria and procedures, which complicate the efforts of both travellers and airlines, slowing done the recovery in the aviation sector, Karousos pointed out. “Cyprus has already developed and implemented an electronic platform for passengers wishing to travel to the island by issuing the so-called Cyprus Flight Pass. The passenger, before traveling to Cyprus, must complete a questionnaire, which is posted on the platform in question, stating some information related to the conduct of his trip.” However, with a view to the safe movement of passengers to and from member states’ airports, he suggested a pan-European flight card system, the EU Flight Pass, “to facilitate the conduct of travel throughout the European Union.”
As for Cyprus which has recently reviewed its categorisation of countries, category A includes low-risk countries such as Ireland, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Greece, Estonia, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Finland. Schengen Zone countries include Switzerland, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and third countries Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea. Nicosia has warned that the list may be modified at any moment, depending on the Coronavirus situation.
The Irish government on Tuesday said it was planning to drop a 14-day quarantine requirement for travellers arriving from a “green list” of 15 European countries, including Cyprus. Ireland, which has one of the lower rates of infection in the European Union with around 5 cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days, said it had decided to drop the restriction for people coming from countries with a similar or lower rate of infection. Arrivals into Ireland from Cyprus, Malta, Finland, Norway, Italy, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Greece, Greenland, Gibraltar, Monaco, and San Marino will not have to restrict their movements. Passengers from other countries, including the United States and neighbouring Britain, are asked to restrict their movements for 14 days. The list will be reviewed on a fortnightly basis, based on advice from officials including public health experts.