With the Cabinet set to take concrete decisions on Friday regarding the gradual resumption of the operation of airports in mid-June, the Health Ministry’s epidemiological surveillance unit is evaluating a list of 20 countries from which Cyprus could receive tourists this summer.
According to Petros Karayiannis, a member of the Government’s health advisory committee, the countries will be categorized according to their epidemiological situation, with visitors from certain countries to be required to show proof of a negative coronavirus test.
The Government on Friday will be deciding on specific dates for the reopening of airports and hotels, providing a timeframe for the preparation of all involved, Karayiannis said, noting that as regards airports, “we are talking about some point in June.”
The list of 20 countries was presented by the Deputy Tourism Minister, Savvas Perdios, on Wednesday morning at a meeting between President Nicos Anastasiades and the health advisory committee.
Karayiannis noted the list is a mixture of traditional and new tourism markets.
“The epidemiological surveillance unit shouldered the task of evaluating the epidemiological situation of these countries,” Karayiannis said.
“If some countries share the same epidemiological picture as us or if they enjoy an even better situation, we will accept tourists from these countries without requiring them to provide a certificate that they have been checked for coronavirus, and without having to be placed in quarantine.”
The same framework will apply for Cypriots visiting countries that share similar epidemiological situations, he added.
But Karayiannis assured that even tourists coming in from countries that will require them to show proof of have been checked for the virus will not be placed in quarantine.
Referring to the efforts being made between Greece, Israel and Cyprus, Karayiannis said Cyprus will also be expanding its efforts to attract tourists from other countries such as Malta, Austria, and Baltic countries which appear to be enjoying positive epidemiological situations.
Regarding the southern European countries that were hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, Karayiannis estimated that they may present an improved epidemiological development within July, which may allow a flow of tourists both to and from Cyprus.
“Already in Italy and Spain the rate of new cases and deaths is decreasing,” Karayiannis said, noting that “therefore, very soon, they will be at the same levels as Germany was when it moved to reopen businesses.”
How can we be sure new cases won’t be imported?
Karayiannis said all airports will be equipped with thermal cameras, which will check the temperature of all passengers before boarding.
“If anyone is found with a fever they will be referred to a health centre to provide a sample, and will then be placed in isolation until the results are out.”
Regarding hotels, Karayiannis said that if guests abide by social distancing rules when dining, “there is no particular danger, while in outdoor spaces there is no danger of transmission at all.”
If a guest is found positive for the virus, Karayiannis said they will be transferred to a hotel that host individuals for quarantine.