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02 June, 2023
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Christmas PCR measure at airports goes into effect

Airport says pre-flight test on arrivals regardless of vax status not unprecedented, doctor says measure too late


Passengers flying to the Republic of Cyprus starting on Wednesday must show a recent negative PCR test regardless of vaccination status, with airport officials saying the measure is not unprecedented and a local doctor arguing it should have been taken before the Christmas holidays.

A new measure went into effect after the last landing on Tuesday night at 11pm, affecting all flights Wednesday morning and through January 15, where teenage and adult arriving passengers must show a 48-hour negative PCR test regardless of whether they are vaccinated or unvaccinated.

According to Hermes Airports senior official Maria Kouroupi, who spoke to the Cyprus News Agency about the implementation of the new rule, the measure was not unprecedented.

“Extending the specific measure to cover all who visit Cyprus is not something that is unprecedented, as in the last two years we have learned to operate with rules regarding PCR tests before or upon arrival,” Kouroupi said.

The doctor accused the government of knee-jerk reactions to the pandemic, saying the PCR measure at airports should have been in place back in November

“We believe the public got used to these procedures and is familiar with the guidelines," she added.

But a local doctor says the measure came too late.

Sofocles Sofocleous, a doctor in nuclear medicine who has also been speaking publicly on the pandemic, was a guest on state last week when he accused the government of knee-jerk reactions to the pandemic.

“They change measures every three days, we have changed measures nine times since November,” Sofocleous said, suggesting there was not enough time to see what worked and what did not.

Speaking on the PCR measure at airports which was decided late last month but did not affect flights until January 5, the government was stalling.

“These measures that go into effect in January should have been in place back in November,” the critic said.

Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela admitted last week that he had warned by associates that infected travelers coming home for Christmas who had symptoms of the coronavirus were still boarding Cyprus-bound flights.

“These cunning persons took advantage of our kindness to let them enjoy their holidays in their home country and transmitted the virus,” the minister said, adding this was partially the reason why the new measure was put into place.

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