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17-02-2021 09:25

Epidemiological risk assessment of countries concerning COVID-19, dated 17/2/2021

The epidemiological image of various countries with regard to the COVID-19 disease has been re-evaluated by the Epidemiological Monitoring and Control of Infectious Diseases Unit of the Medical Services and the Public Health Services. The evaluation was based on the epidemiological indicators of the countries, such as: the effective reproduction number R(t) for SARS-CoV-2, the number of new diagnoses, the number of laboratory tests, the mortality rate per 100,000 inhabitants, the estimated prevalence and the impact and classification by the World Health Organization (WHO), as these indicators appear on valid databases.

The following categorization of countries, based on the epidemiological risk assessment, is extremely dynamic and may be modified at any moment as the pandemic evolves and the epidemiological data change. For this reason, new data would be announced and the list of countries updated frequently.

It should be noted that in categorizing countries the revised Recommendation of the European Council on the EU’s external borders (2021/89) has been taken into consideration.

Category A – Low risk countries at the current stage     

  • Third Countries: 1) Australia, 2) New Zealand, 3) Singapore

Included in this category are countries with an effective reproduction (Rt) number lower than 1 or/and small number of new diagnoses (<1/100,000 inhabitants per day) or/and small or very small COVID-19 mortality (<5-10/100,000 inhabitants) or/and classification of sporadic cases or clusters of cases according to the WHO or/and at least satisfactory laboratory testing (>3000 tests/100,000 inhabitants).

It should be noted that in accordance with a decision of the Council of Ministers, dated 3 February 2021, passengers coming from Category A countries shall be required to go into a 72-hour self-isolation and undergo a PCR test 72 hours after their arrival.  

Category B – Countries with possibly low risk but greater uncertainty compared to Category A

  • European Union Member States: 1) Germany, 2) Finland, 3) Greece
  • Schengen countries: 1) Norway, 2) Iceland
  • Third Countries: 1) China (including Hong Kong and Macau), 2) South Korea, 3) Thailand

Included in this category are countries with an effective reproduction (Rt) number greater than 1 or/and number of new diagnoses <1/100,000 inhabitants per day or/and increased COVID-19 mortality (>10/100,000 inhabitants) or/and limited laboratory testing (<2000 tests/100,000 inhabitants) or lack of WHO classification 

It should be noted that passengers coming from Category B countries shall be required to have undertaken a laboratory test within 72 hours prior to departure and to possess a Certificate showing a negative PCR examination result. In addition to the aforementioned, in accordance with a decision of the Council of Ministers, dated 3 February 2021, these passengers shall be required to go into a 72-hour self-isolation and undergo a PCR test 72 hours after their arrival. 

It is also clarified that passengers from Category B countries, falling into the following categories, may carry out the molecular examination upon arrival in the Republic:

a) Cypriot citizens and family members (alien spouses, underage children and parents thereof),

b) all those legally residing in the Republic,

c) persons entitled to under the Vienna Convention,

d) persons, irrespective of nationality, whose countries of residence do not provide a laboratory testing service (public or private), to those wishing to travel to the Republic of Cyprus and following a relevant announcement.

It should be noted that the examination cost will be borne by themselves and in addition, such persons should remain in self-isolation until the examination result is issued.

Category C – Increased risk countries compared to categories A and B

  • European Union Member States: 1) Austria, 2) Belgium, 3) Bulgaria, 4) France, 5) Ireland, 6) Croatia, 7) Luxemburg, 8) Romania, 9) Spain, 10) Italy, 11) Malta, 12) Netherlands, 13) Hungary, 14) Poland, 15) Portugal, 16) Slovakia, 17) Slovenia, 18) Czech Republic, 19) Denmark, 20) Estonia, 21) Latvia, 22) Lithuania, 23) Sweden
  • United Kingdom*
  • Small states: 1) Andorra, 2) Monaco, 3) Vatican City, 4) San Marino
  • Schengen countries: 1) Switzerland, 2) Liechtenstein
  • Third Countries: 1) Rwanda

All countries not included in categories A or B are placed in this category. Some of the countries which are of high risk according to their epidemiological picture, are mentioned above.

In accordance with the Quarantine Decree (No.2) of 2021, entry into the Republic from Category C countries shall be allowed only for specific categories of citizens who have the possibility to choose whether to undergo a diagnostic test for COVID-19 upon their arrival in Cyprus or have with them a negative RT-PCR test certificate for COVID-19, undertaken within 72 hours prior to departure. It is noted that such persons can either undergo a molecular examination for COVID-19 on the 10th day of their self-isolation, at their own expense, and have their self-isolation terminated provided that the outcome of the molecular examination is negative, or be released on the 14th day of self-isolation provided that they are not COVID-19 positive, according to the guidelines of the Ministry of Health.

*It is reminded that in accordance with the Quarantine Decree (No.8), dated 12 February 2021, until 23.59 pm on the 28th February 2021 a special regulation applies for persons arriving from the United Kingdom. Such persons undergo a laboratory test upon their arrival at Larnaka and Pafos Airports and they are transported, at the state’s expense, to hotels of the Republic for a mandatory 7-day isolation. On the 7th day upon arrival they undergo another laboratory test, and in the case of a negative result they remain in self-isolation for another 3 days (total days in mandatory isolation: 10 days).

It is underlined that all passengers, regardless of country category, shall be obliged to submit an application for the CyprusFlightPass within 24 hours prior to their departure flight. Moreover, in order to insure public health and the monitoring of the epidemiological situation, a sample molecular laboratory testing of passengers on selected arriving flights will be carried out.

It should be noted that the above categorization of countries shall take effect on 19 February 2021.

(MK)