Cyprus will introduce mandatory testing for all arrivals from Greece starting August 6, after many cases were detected during random tests from passengers returning from Greece in the last few days.
Health ministry officials in the Republic of Cyprus said on Sunday that any travelers from Greece, starting from Thursday, will be required to show a negative PCR test conducted within 72 hours of traveling to the island.
Cypriots and their spouses as well as lawful or permanent residents could opt for a test at the airport terminal upon their arrival. The Cyprus News Agency said passengers would be responsible for paying for such tests.
Greece, a popular holiday destination for thousands of Greek Cypriots, continues to show significantly lower infection rates than other European countries. Reports said Greek officials were still concerned over trouble spots regarding bars and nightclubs as well as public transportation, with younger people being more likely to get infected.
At least five Cypriots tested positive recently during random or work-related tests after having spent time in Mykonos, Thessaloniki, or Athens
But Cypriot officials rushed to downgrade Greece from low-risk Category A to high-risk category B on the advice of health experts serving on a government task force for the pandemic.
Reports said a number of infected Cypriots vacationing on Greek islands were returning home while undetected through the current monitoring scheme at Larnaca and Paphos airports. At least five Cypriots tested positive during random or work-related tests after having spent time in Mykonos, Thessaloniki, or Athens.
The Republic Cyprus has a three-tier risk assessment system, grouping countries where travel is either unrestricted, allowed with a PCR test, or permitted with a PCR test and compulsory 14-day self-isolation.
Officials said the list is regularly updated, at least one a week, with Greece now being moved to second category starting August 6.
The Cyprus News Agency reported that authorities have announced more tests will be conducted at the airports on repatriates, as part of random testing on passengers regardless of risk category, nationality, or departure destination.