An inter-ministerial committee set up to spearhead the gradual resumption of flights agreed on an updated action plan on Thursday that allows those passengers who have been vaccinated against coronavirus to be exempted from the requirement of showing proof of a negative test.
According to statements issued by transport minister Yiannis Karousos, an inter-ministerial committee chaired by himself and including the ministers of foreign affairs, finance, health, and tourism, was set up following a cabinet decision on May 17, 2020, in order to improve an existing action plan on the gradual resumption of the operation of airports and flights.
The committee came together Thursday in the presence of the interior minister, Karousos said, and agreed on a number of revisions to the island’s airport and air transport action plan.
The updated action plan will come into effect on March 1, 2021.
In addition to the provision allowing leniency to passengers vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, revisions were also agreed for the way in which Cyprus categorizes other countries in its three-tier risk-based categorization system governing travel rules.
Specifically, the committee agreed to base Cyprus’ categorization on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s (ECDC) weekly evaluation report. For countries not included in the ECDC’s report, the health ministry will shoulder the task of evaluating their epidemiological situation and categorizing them accordingly.
Additionally, the committee agreed to adopt the ECDC’s categorization framework. Cyprus’ category A will become the ‘green category’, with passengers traveling from these countries free of restrictions and rules. Category B will become the ‘orange category’, with passengers coming in from countries included in this category to be required to present a negative PCR test conducted within 72 hours from boarding time. Category C will become the ‘red category’, which will require passengers to present a negative PCR test conducted within 72 hours from boarding time, but also to get tested for the virus anew upon landing. Finally, a fourth category that requires special permission for entry, dubbed the ‘grey category’, will require passengers to present a negative test and remain in isolation for a period determined by the health period.
The green, orange, and red categories will include EU member states, European Economic Area countries including the United Kingdom and Switzerland, countries on the European Council's list of third countries, and other third countries (Russia, Ukraine, Israel, Lebanon, UAE, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Belarus).
All other countries will be subject to the processes falling under the grey category, whereby special permission will be required for entry into the Republic of Cyprus. Exceptions to this rule are Cypriot citizens, EU citizens, and people legally residing in the Republic of Cyprus.
The health ministry will continue its random sampling program on arrivals to Cyprus airports.
Until the revised action plan enters into force on March 1, 2021, the committee agreed to allow for a transitional period that will begin on January 15, 2021, during which the Republic’s categorization system will adopt the ECDC’s framework but the categorization will continue to be performed by the health ministry.