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Coronavirus: Cyprus not considering closing borders to arrivals from China

February 3, 2020 at 3:15pm
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Cyprus is in daily contact with the World Health Organisation and EU bodies and is ready to implement their instructions, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said on Monday.

He said measures introduced several days ago remain in force. Cyprus was not considering closing its borders to arrivals from China, the minister added replying to a question, pointing out that no such decision been taken by an EU member state nor has the World Health Organisation made such a recommendation.

A young Chinese national who had been hospitalised tested negative for coronavirus and was discharged from hospital yesterday. The samples were tested in Greece but as from this afternoon  tests will be held at Cyprus’ Institute of Neurology and Genetics.

Cyprus has activated a task force to deal with a possible coronavirus case here, while the Foreign Ministry has issued two travel advisories. Measures enforced in Cyprus include screening of passengers who have travelled from China. As there are no direct flights from China to Cyprus, airlines have been instructed to inform authorities if they are carrying passengers who had transited through a third country to come to Cyprus whereas arriving passengers are informed that they should inform authorities if they had been in China.

The minister was asked about one Cypriot passenger who said he had arrived from China through Hong Kong and Moscow and although he had been screened at both stops, he had cleared passport and custom checks in Cyprus without being questioned by anyone.

The minister said there was agreement with airlines that authorities should be informed about passengers who are travelling from China and they will be screened. “If someone came through third countries as has occurred and the last airline may not have known the passenger had come from China, the passengers themselves have an obligation — and there are announcements to this effect at the airports — to declare that they have been in China the past 14 days so the necessary checks can be carried out,” he said.

 

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