As Cyprus is set to ease restrictions to travelers from certain countries on Saturday, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou warned that the battle against coronavirus continued, and cases would emerge in the coming days.
The minister said they expected new cases, whether imported or locally transmitted. What was necessary, however, is that a potential new wave would find Cyprus prepared and more knowledgeable.
Cyprus managed to flatten the curve in the run-up to opening its doors to travelers from 21 countries who would not need to have a clean bill of health before flying to the island.
Allaying concerns, Ioannou said Cyprus needed to restore its connection with other countries, starting with those that displayed similar epidemiological data.
The island has drafted a list with three categories ranking countries according to their data.
People from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland will not have to have proof they had tested negative within 72 hours before their travel.
Whereas those from Israel, Poland, Romania need to have the document. It is expected that Belgium, France, Italy, Lebanon, Jordan, the Netherlands, and UAE will also be added to category B.
All others have been placed in category C.
“To safeguard public health, it has been decided to carry out random tests, around 10 percent to 15 percent of travelers,” to get a better picture of the situation. If necessary, to review the decisions, the minister said.
“No other country, as far as I know, enforces such a practice.”
Random tests will also be conducted on passengers from category B to confirm whether the documents are correct.
The list will be reviewed every week, and countries will be moved around depending on their data.
“The three scientists tasked with this will carry out this task without intervention from anyone,” Ioannou said.