Cyprus Leads EU in COVID-19 Testing, Eyes Return of Tourism

Αssociated Press

(AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

NICOSIA -- Hoping to open to limited numbers of tourists on March 1 as it eases a COVID-19 lockdown, Cyprus is the European Union’s leader in the number of rapid Coronavirus tests as a percentage of population.

There were 202,614 tests between Feb. 15-21, or 25,554 per 100,000 people, the Health Ministry said, adding it’s relying on that procedure as a key method in being able to open borders to critical spending from foreign visitors, said The Cyprus Mail.

The government is also using tracking and tracing to identify any spread and vaccinations to cut into the number of cases and make it safer for public gatherings and places such as hotels, restaurants and bars to operate.

“Although the epidemiological situation shows steady progress, the situation remains fluid and easily reversible, and requires care to avert a deterioration,” it said, the paper reported.

The latest figures published by the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) showed that from Feb. 15-21 there were 385 positive cases detected, showing that measures were working despite unrest over health restrictions.

“The practice followed by Cyprus since last November with rapid mass tests of the general population is also adopted by other European states such as the United Kingdom and Germany,” the Health Ministry said, adding that this was in line with the recommendations of ECDC as one way to control transmission of new variants.

Under a Feb. 12 order, private businesses and the public sector must ensure the compulsory weekly testing of staff, depending on the numbers they employ, the report added.