Cyprus has now allowed flights from over 30 countries across two categories, effective from Friday 19 June, 2020.
Flights from over 30 countries into Cyprus commenced across two categories, up from 19 when a commercial passenger flight ban ended earlier this month. The decision was taken after coronavirus restrictions on air travels.
The arrival-flight permission included flights from the hard-hit EU partners Italy, Spain, and nearby Lebanon.
Authorities from the Health Ministry said 22 countries are now considered low-risk, including Greece, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, South Korea and Australia, while another 12, including France, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Lebanon and Israel, are in higher-risk category.
The statement added that, from Saturday 20 June 2020, only travellers arriving from countries in the second category will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test undertaken within 72 hours of travel, or on arrival if unavailable in the departure country.
This new move requires coronavirus-free proof from travellers from the countries in the second category – different from the previous compulsory requirements from both lists.
But Cyprus's two biggest tourist markets, the United Kingdom and Russia, have yet to be included in either category.
"It's a dynamic list based on the (epidemiological) data registered for each country," Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou told a press conference on Friday 19 June, 2020.
The health minister added that if coronavirus cases rise in a country in the first category, "it will be downgraded to category B, and vice versa. The categories will be updated weekly."
Israel was recently changed to be in the higher-risk category after it recorded an increase in coronavirus cases.
According to the health minister, Cyprus will be expecting 1,500 travellers daily while around 300 random tests will be carrried out every day. The check will enable the government to make an informed decision after situation review.
Transport minister Yiannis Karousos told state radio that he expected the number of flights to increase to around 500 weekly in the next month July, 2020.
Cyprus has reported 985 coronavirus cases and 19 deaths, and is looking to reopen its economy, especially its vital tourism sector.