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UK Mulling Whether to Allow Cypriot Visitors During COVID-19

Αssociated Press

A woman wearing mask walks at Cyprus main airport at Larnaca on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

NICOSIA -- While among the hardest-hit by COVID-19, the United Kingdom is still reviewing whether it will allow in visitors from Cyprus, whose country had one of the world’s best records in holding down the number of cases and deaths.

Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides told the Cyprus Mail said he was informed by British Minister for Europe Wendy Morton that the UK was also looking to lift Coronavirus travel restrictions for Cypriot visitors.

According to Christodoulides, Morton said they were looking into allowing Cypriots to be allowed in because Cyprus’ relatively safe record and favorable epidemiological data indicating Cypriot would be low-risk although traveling to a high-risk country.

The UK has lifted mandatory quarantine for travelers to the country but visitors will be placed in different categories based on the health record of their countries. 

Government adviser and professor of microbiology and molecular virology at the University of Nicosia Medical School Petros Karayiannis said COVID-19 is still on the island but that the situation isn’t that worrying, the paper said.

The head of the Cyprus hotels association Pasyxe Philokypros Roussounides said as the UK made critical decisions now is the time for Cyprus to make a step towards opening for Brits and others from the UK, a big market for the island trying to save the tourism year.

“It is important because the United Kingdom is one of the island’s largest tourist markets,” he said, adding that he believes it’s now time for Cyprus set an “official date” to open to tourists from the UK, be it mid-July, late July, or August.

Earlier, Roussounides called for the government to open entry to British, Russian and Scandinavian tourists.

“We need the British, the Russians and the Scandinavians and as many others as possible. We respect the need for the government to safeguard the nation’s health, but other countries, with which we compete, like Greece and Spain, have set dates for a relaxation of such restrictions,” he told the paper.

Deputy Minister of Tourism Savvas Perdios told the British newspaper The Sun that July 15 was a reasonable date for arrivals from the UK to start.