Parents of Cypriot students in the UK protested against the government’s latest quarantine measures, saying their children were not given a heads up to decide whether to travel and isolate in a hotel or stay put over the holidays.
Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos visited Larnaca International Airport on Monday where he presided over a meeting in light of new measures that require all adult passengers traveling from the UK to be quarantined in hotels for at least 10 days. The decision came amid fears of a virus mutation spreading rapidly in the UK.
A group of parents, among them those whose children are studying in British colleges and universities, gathered at Larnaca airport on Monday where they staged a protest against the measures according to the Cyprus News Agency.
Karousos said he understood the measure was causing inconvenience to some people but maintained the protection of public health was far more important
CNA reported that many parents and relatives of students were upset, saying it was “very unfair” that children traveled to the island to spend Christmas but ended up being quarantined.
Parents argued that in many cases students might have chosen to cancel their trip back home had they had enough time to make the decision instead of coming back and having to self-isolate in a hotel during Christmas.
Karousos, who spoke on state radio on Tuesday morning, said he understood the measure was causing inconvenience to some people but maintained the protection of public health was far more important.
Karousos: it was either quarnatine or flight ban
“We ask for people's understanding, we are doing this to protect public health,” Karousos said, adding that a quick decision had to be taken and the two choices were either a flight ban or quarantine.
Passengers from the UK, who arrive at the international airports in Larnaca and Paphos, are being transferred to hotels paid by the state, following a government measure in effect from December 21 through January 5.
The decision was taken in an emergency meeting after many countries had already moved to ban passenger flights from the UK, citing a new strain of coronavirus detected in that country was spreading more rapidly.
The quarantine measures allow travelers under the age of 18 to remain in self-isolation at home or stay in a hotel if they are traveling with a parent or guardian.
Cyprus’ foreign ministry issued a travel advisory on Tuesday calling on Cypriot citizens in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to “avoid travel unless absolutely necessary” until Tuesday night on January 5.