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23 June, 2021
 
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Minister defends laxer policy for tourists

Foreign visitors not subject to follow-ups or monitoring as minister says Cyprus Flight Pass is enough

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Cypriot Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios says CyprusFlightPass is a sufficient tool for monitoring foreign travelers during their visit on the island, dismissing criticism that locals are having a harder time securing a CoronaPass to enjoy fewer restrictions.

Perdios, who spoke on state radio Tuesday morning, responded to critics who argued locals were having a tough time standing in long lines to get a rapid test, one of two prerequisites for unvaccinated locals who wish to go to certain places where a CoronaPass also known as a safe pass is required. 

Although local residents do not pay for rapid tests, many citizens have been complaining over a lack of organization as unvaccinated people stood in long lines in hot weather to get proof of immunity against COVID-19 so that they can visit venues such as shopping malls, cafes, and movie theaters.

But rapid tests are only valid for 72 hours, meaning locals may have to go through the trouble of getting a rapid test possibly twice a week while CoronaPass remains in effect, while foreign visitors rely on one test at the start of their vacation. 

Rapid tests are only valid for 72 hours while CoronaPass remains in effect, but unvaccinated foreign visitors rely only on one test at the start of their vacation

Foreign tourists who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 are allowed to roam free in post-lockdown Cyprus, while many unvaccinated travelers are only required to download or print their CyprusFlightPass that is required prior to boarding their island-bound flight.

According to official information online, in some cases tourists are required to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test in order to complete their flight pass, but the minister admitted there was no follow-up test or additional document required for tourists who havce tested negative at the start of their journey.

“Travelers pay out of their pocket to get tested before coming to Cyprus and these people also get tested when they go back,” Perdios said, adding that testing could set some tourists back €250.

Cyprus uses a three-category risk system for travelers, with the Green category requiring no molecular test for COVID-19, although the minister admitted there was still random sampling taking place on certain flights.

The orange category includes countries where visitors flying to Cyprus must pay for a test upon arrival unless they choose to take a test before their flight to the island. Self-isolation is required for those waiting for their test results in Cyprus.

No choice is given for red category countries, where visitors flying to Cyprus must get tested on the island upon arrival, but quarantine is not necessary if the test comes back negative.

Perdios said he expected passenger traffic to go up, with reports saying it was around 10% in early 2021 but expected to climb to 20% in May.

Airport officials said they hoped passenger traffic from June and on would “increase significantly” based on the airline scheduling, expected to reach 60%.

Last August traffic stood at 25% compared to 2019.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  tourism  |  vaccine  |  CyprusFlightPass  |  CoronaPass  |  safe pass  |  rapid test  |  Perdios

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