After the across the board ban on passenger flights in March, the government steadily eased the ban through successive decrees allowing more groups of Cyprus nationals stranded abroad to be repatriated.
On Wednesday, a new government decree was issued allowing all remaining legal residents of the island to return, while also extending the ban on passenger flights for another 13 days after April 18.
Cypriot citizens and legal residents are now able to register on the Foreign Ministry’s online platform, www.connect2cy.gov.cy to state their wish to return to island as well as their preferred repatriation date.
Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos announced on Thursday that some 2,000 are expected to be repatriated every two weeks, given that quarantine facilities are available.
Karousos added that two rescue flights are scheduled to arrive on the island from the UK on Friday, followed by another two on Saturday.
On Thursday morning, a Cyprus Airways flight headed to Greece departed from Larnaca Airport transferring 131 Greek nationals stranded in Cyprus back home, and returned to the island later in the day repatriating some 144 Cyprus nationals.
All flights arriving in Larnaca Airport park at the former airport, where specialized staff test all arriving passengers for coronavirus.
Returnees are then placed in quarantine for 14 days, while patients are allowed to spend the quarantine period at home.
The government managed to get airlines flying in from the UK to drop fare prices to €320, not including taxes, and to allow luggage of up to 30kg, Karousos said, while flights departing from Greece’s Athens and Thessaloniki have been set at €150 before taxes.
Students who stayed put abroad get promised grant
By Thursday, a sum of 9,282 students abroad who chose to remain put amid the coronavirus outbreak had received a €750 government benefit, as promised last month.
Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou said beneficiaries of the grant are those applicants who chose to remain in their country of study past March 21, the day which Cyprus moved to place its airports in lockdown.
Over 9,000 Cypriot students received the grant which was transferred directly into the bank account listed in their application to the student welfare service.
Prodromou said that some 14,800 applications were filed for the grant, with some 5,500 still under review, while the deadline for applications isn’t until April 22.
Legal suit filed by UK student for repatriation dismissed
The Administrative Court on Thursday dismissed a law suit filed against the Republic of Cyprus by a student in the UK, who sought a court order that would allow her to return to the island as the government had initially excluded students from groups allowed to catch rescue flights back to Cyprus.
The suit, filed prior to the government’s move on Wednesday to allow all legal residents to return, argued that forbidding the student’s return to Cyprus was in violation of Article 14 of the constitution.
However, the administrative court said on Thursday that this was a regulatory, administrative act of legislative content which cannot be challenged under Article 146 and was outside the jurisdiction of the current court.
The court therefore moved to reject the student’s application without a hearing.