Cyprus will reopen to vaccinated British tourists from 1 May, the country’s deputy tourism minister has said.
Savvas Perdios told the Cyprus News Agency the country would welcome visitors from the UK who have had two doses of a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency.
These include the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines currently being rolled out in the UK, as well as the Moderna vaccine that is due to start being rolled out in the spring.
So long as travellers have had their second vaccine dose at least seven days prior to travel, they will be able to visit Cyprus without the need for a negative test or to self-isolate on arrival.
"We have informed the British government that from 1 May we will facilitate the arrival of British nationals who have been vaccinated so they can visit Cyprus without a negative test or needing to quarantine," Sky News quotes Perdios as having said.
The 1 May date, though, falls more than a fortnight before the earliest date international outbound travel will resume from the UK, according to prime minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of the country’s Covid lockdown.
Currently, 17 May is the earliest date international travel will resume, subject to a 12 April report by the Global Travel Taskforce on how this can be achieved "safely and robustly", aviation and maritime minister Robert Courts told the transport select committee this week.
Cyprus has not yet detailed how prospective tourists’ vaccination status would be verified. The EU is working on a digital vaccination green pass, full details of which are expected to be presented later this month.
However, the German chancellor said it would likely take at least three months to complete the necessary groundwork to get the system up and running, pointing to an early June roll-out at the earliest.
The UK is Cyprus’s largest market, and its commitment to reopening to British tourists follows similar assurances from Greece in recent weeks.
Greece, Cyprus and Israel have, reportedly, struck deals based on vaccination to allow travel to resume in April, with Israel’s vaccination programme currently thought to be the most advanced in the world.
The UK government hopes to have been able to offer all adults their first Covid vaccine dose by the end of July, although with the up to 12-week delay for a second dose, it could result in some people not meeting Cyprus’s entry criteria until the start of November.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has said the Global Travel Taskforce will develop a "risk-based framework" to restart international travel, utilising existing border measures such as testing and self-isolation.
The taskforce’s 12 April report will also build on recommendations from its November report, and these efforts will run parallel to a review of "Covid-status certification" being led by Michael Gove and be "closely integrated".
Moreover, the DfT said a decision on when international travel can resume would depend on four factors:
The travel industry-led Save Our Summer campaign has called on the government not to return to last summer’s travel corridor regime, and restart travel instead using wider, more rigorous testing of passengers.