Traveling to Cyprus amid Coronavirus Outbreak 2020 – Everything you need to know
Who’d knew that things would turn the way they did this year? Like everyone else, I heard about a mysterious virus outbreak in China around New Years. It was a little worrying, but there was little, sparse information that mostly focused on China. Eventually, coronavirus made its way to Cyprus. I had to cancel my plans to visit Cyprus in March as I have at-risk family members, and we were still unaware of what this virus is all about. The Cypriot government closed the border for almost three months, making it practically impossible to go back unless I took a costly flight and was quarantined in a hotel for 14 days. So I waited until finally, borders are opening on the 10th of June. And thankfully, Denmark is in the category of allowed countries to fly in.
In brief, in this blog post, I am trying to summarize all information you need to know If you are planning to visit Cyprus and are still unsure what you need to know. It’s every traveler’s responsibility to do serious homework before making travel plans for the remainder of the year. And I’m here to make it easier for you.
How is the situation like in Cyprus?
Timeline of COVID 19 in Cyprus
Click the English version on top right
As of today, we have a little less than 1000 confirmed cases in total in Cyprus. The first two COVID 19 cases were confirmed on the 8th of March, lockdown started on the 22nd of March and the measures weren’t relaxed until the 3rd of May with the first phase of opening, followed by the second phase on the 22nd of May. Then, on the 23rd of May, we have had the first time with zero cases since the lockdown. I will go in more depth about the airport openings in a bit.
The government has been thorough about testing and is encouraging people to get tested even If they experience mild symptoms. For every confirmed case, they are testing all people that came in contact with the positive subject. Also, all citizens that were repatriated were put in an obligatory 2-week quarantine in dedicated “quarantine hotels” to avoid further spread.
Who can visit Cyprus?
The government has announced the first two phases of gradual easing of restrictions on flights to and from Larnaka and Paphos Airport. At the present stage, the following countries divided into two categories can visit Cyprus this summer.
Category A: Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Switzerland, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea.
Category B: Belgium, France, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Jordan, Netherlands, Spain, Poland, Romania, United Arab Emirates.
Note: An official risk assessment by the government can be found here. It is possible that an updated list of countries will be announced at any time. Check out the updated categories here in case the blog post gets outdated.
Starting from the Phase A on the 9th of June, all travelers traveling from categories A and B will be required to provide a proof of negative COVID 19 PCR test conducted 72 hours before departing to be allowed to board the flight. If a traveler resides in a country where testing is not widely available, it can be conducted upon arrival (approximately 60 euros).
During Phase B, travelers arriving from category A do not need to provide a COVID 19 test to enter Cyprus. Still, travelers from category B will continue to do so 72 hours before departure.
Important Note – If you have traveled in any other country for the last fourteen days before arriving in Cyprus, you will face the same requirements as travelers from these countries. For example, If you currently live in Denmark (category A), but you have traveled to Poland ten days before departure, it means you have the same requirements for travelers coming from Poland. If you visited countries that are not in these categories, you are not allowed to travel!
Are you eligible to travel to Cyprus?
If you want to know whether you are eligible or not to travel, take a look at this tool created by the government, which was made specifically for this season’s travelers. You can also read the travel protocol here.
What about the opening phases in Cyprus?
By the third phase, most places will be operating as usual. I created the following infographic to better show each phase.
Should I get tested before traveling?
If you are in category B, you are obliged to do so!
But even if this is not the case for you, If you have access to a test before your flight, that would only be in your favor. The airports will be conducting tests randomly, and If positive, you risk spending 14 days in the government designated places. So why risk it?
How to get travel permission to fly to Cyprus
Starting from the 9th of June, everyone, no matter what, needs to grant permission before traveling from the dedicated government website Cyprus Travel Pass. You need to write your travel details (e.g. flight details) and provide proof of a negative COVID 19 test when possible and required. You can also find all frequently asked questions as well as contact the responsible authorities. If you are over 65, you can download and fill the form here.
What rules do you need to follow?
Masks are not mandatory for travelers to wear in public but mandatory with employees interacting with people in hospitality, customer service centers, shops, etc. However, visitors are obliged to wear a mask at the airport.
Also, it would be best if you were careful about keeping a distance at the beach. Each sunbed needs at least 2 meters distance from the others If people do not belong to the same group. Similarly, umbrellas need at least four meters distance. It’s essential to bring a towel, and employees are obliged to disinfect sunbeds after each use.
What If you test positive during your stay in Cyprus?
If a traveler is tested positive, the government of Cyprus is committed to taking care of the traveler as well as his or her close contacts. The person who is tested positive will be transferred to a designated 100 bed-hospital explicitly for such cases where food and medical care will be provided. The family of the infected person will be moved to the “quarantine” hotels, and all costs related to lodging, food, and medicine will be covered entirely by the government. The only cost that the travelers will need to cover is their repatriation flight, as well as their taxi transportation to the airport.
The truth is, even if the government is paying for infected tourists, let’s get real – being quarantined on an island for fourteen days is not as fun as it may sound, especially If you are obliged to stay in the hotel or hospital and watch from your window. Unless, of course, this is something you do not mind. Therefore, try to be mindful and follow all safety measures as advised.
What you need to ask yourself before traveling
While the intention of this blog post is not to delve into the ethical considerations regarding traveling post-COVID, to decide whether it is or not a good idea to travel you need to ask yourself the following questions and I leave the personal assessment of the risks you are willing to accept up to you.
- How is healthcare in the country you are visiting – do you have health insurance? If so, is your insurance covering you to travel during this period? Perhaps you would need to contact them before your departure.
- Can you avoid your at-risk family and friends for 14 days once you go back to your home country?
- Risk of flight cancellations, border closures, and forced quarantines. Can you afford to extend your stay in such cases?
Where to stay in Cyprus
Whether you would like to stay in tourist hotspots it’s completely up to you, I even made this guide some time ago. But If you want to completely keep a distance, there are some alternative locations in Cyprus that you might consider staying. Stay tuned as I will summarize some of the ideas in a future post. In the meantime take a look at Booking’s greatest deals!