The Ministry of Health of Cyprus has decided as of Friday November 26 to ban the entry into the Republic of passengers from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi and Botswana due to the new coronavirus variant.
In a press release the Ministry said the decision was taken having taken into account the new data on the coronavirus variant SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.529, which was initially detected in Botswana and was raised the alarm due to the great number of mutations and to safeguard public health.
The arrival and or entry to the Republic of any person who has resided and passed through South Africa Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi and Botswana the last 14 days before his or her arrival is prohibited, it noted.
The Ministry clarified that so far, this coronavirus variant has not been detected in Cyprus and that recently it has increased the capability of sequencing and analysis of samples since this takes place in cooperation with an ECDC lab, a private lab in Cyprus and the research laboratory of Molecular Virology of the University of Cyprus.
On the basis of thorough genetic analysis of sequences between October and November 11 in Cyprus only evolving sub-strains of the Delta variant and in particular AY.43 at approximately 50% of samples.
None of the strains seems to present with increased transmissibility compared to the Delta variant, B.1.617.2.
In statements, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipandelas said that the Ministry had decided to forbid the entry in Cyprus of passengers arriving from specific countries related to the particular variant.
Cypriots who have visited these countries will be placed into isolation for approximately 10 days upon their arrival to Cyprus, he noted, adding that strict checks will take place at the airports for arrivals of specific countries such as Israel where cases have been detected.