Cypriots stranded in the UK will be repatriated with two chartered flights, after the government revised its decision of asking citizens who traveled abroad to stay put.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, existing plans of the Cyprus Crisis Management Center have been activated, with the first of two flights scheduled to depart in the early hours of Saturday from Heathrow airport operated by Aegean.
A second flight from the UK, possibly from London or Manchester, had yet to be finalized.
CNA cited a source saying Cypriots in the UK were a priority due to the large number of people who want to return home.
People boarding flights chartered by the government, which are expected to land after the universal flight ban, will be exempt from restrictions
“The Center focused its efforts on the UK, where there are hundreds of people stranded, more than 500” it was reported.
People boarding flights chartered by the Cyprus government, and which are expected to arrive in Cyprus after the universal flight ban enters into force, at 3am local time on Saturday, will be exempt from restrictions.
However, entry to the Republic of Cyprus is allowed only for people who went abroad for medical reasons, for a short stay, for business purposes or were on an official mission, in line with the relevant decree.
There were no particular problems with Cypriots stranded in Greece and most were repatriated using scheduled flights, said the same source.
As for Cypriots stranded elsewhere in Europe, it was noted that they only number a few cases, which the Center handles individually, in cooperation with local Cyprus Embassies.
Flying back amid the coronavirus outbreak became a hot topic in Cyprus, with officials advising against travel but also critics accusing the government of not taking strict measures to protect the island from infected travelers.
A number of planes have also been arriving to Cyprus compeltely empty, according to local media, in order to take back foreign nationals who were also stranded on the island during the coronavirus pandemic.