Cyprus: Jet2 cancels holidays as island’s government demands Covid-19 certificates

Until Saturday, travellers from the UK are banned from the Mediterranean island

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Thursday 30 July 2020 11:20 BST
Forbidden shore: British visitors are not allowed to enter Cyprus before the end of July
Forbidden shore: British visitors are not allowed to enter Cyprus before the end of July (istock)

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Jet2 Holidays has cancelled trips to Cyprus for the first half of August.

The travel firm took the decision because of the demand from the island's government that arrivals from the UK have a certificate confirming a negative test for coronavirus at least 72 hours earlier.

These must be obtained privately, at a typical cost of £150.

A spokesperson for Jet2 said: “Because of prohibitive entry restrictions into Cyprus, we have no choice but to suspend flights and holidays to Larnaca and Paphos up to and including 16 August.

“We continue to urge the Cypriot authorities to review the entry criteria in line with other destinations, so that our customers can enjoy their well-deserved holidays.” Travellers whose holidays are cancelled can claim a full refund, or can choose an alternative trip.

The company said: “we will be contacting customers to discuss these options”.

“For customers who are due to travel to Cyprus from 17 August onwards, we are continuing to liaise with the authorities in Cyprus and we will provide further updates in due course.”

Cyprus divides arriving travellers into three categories: A, B and C.

The UK is currently on the “C” list. The Foreign Office says: “You cannot enter Cyprus if you have been in the UK in the last 14 days."

Holiday companies have cancelled all trips to the end of July.

On Saturday 1 August, the UK will move from Category C to B, joining France, Italy and Spain.

However, the Cypriot government insists every traveller must have tested negative for coronavirus ahead of flying to the islands.

Travellers are told: “Passengers coming from Category B countries will be required to have undertaken a laboratory test at least 72 hours prior to departure and to possess a certificate showing negative PCR examination for the virus.”

According to the Foreign Office, the test results can be in the form of an email or text message, but must include the date and time when the test was taken and state the type of test – which should be PCR.

People who have spent the previous two weeks only in “A” countries – which include Germany, Greece, Ireland and Switzerland – can enter freely.

To add to the confusion, the Foreign Office insists the test must be “obtained within 72 hours before travel” – contradicting the Cypriot stipulation of “at least 72 hours prior to departure”.

The Independent is urgently seeking clarification from the Foreign Office and the Cypriot authorities on which version is correct.

The hope in the travel industry is that British holidaymakers will soon be able to take a test on arrival, costing €60 (£54) – though travellers will be required to self-isolate until they receive the result of the test.

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