Policy responses for Cyprus - HSRM


Policy responses for Cyprus

1.3 Isolation and quarantine

Update July 5th 2020

On July 1st the Epidemiological Monitoring and Control Unit for Infectious Diseases announced that persons who test positive for COVID-19 without symptoms or with mild symptoms will have the choice to either be transferred for isolation at places designated by the Ministry of Health (Eden Resort, Wellness or the Rehabilitation Centre), or remain at in-house isolation until given a release. Persons who have been defined as close contacts of verified cases of infection by the coronavirus following relevant tracing by the Epidemiological Monitoring and Control Unit for Infectious Diseases, should also stay at in-house isolation for 14 days, according to the recommendation of the World Health Organization. Persons that arrive in Cyprus from countries other than those included in Categories A and B (https://cyprusflightpass.gov.cy/en/country-categories) should also be placed at in-house isolation for a period of 14 days (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/en/press/1072020_1.pdf).

Update 24th June 2020

According to the Decree issued by the Minister of Health on June 19th, persons entering the Republic of Cyprus who are confirmed with COVID-19, have to be on quarantine for fourteen days as per MoH guidelines (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/diat/50.pdf).

Update 06 June 2020

All persons arriving in the Republic (from June 9th) must do a molecular test for COVID-19 unless they possess a negative result from a molecular test done 72 hours prior to their arrival in Cyprus, and must remain in compulsory self-isolation until the issue of the result (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/diat/44.pdf). All newly arrived persons will be checked for temperature, and a COVID-19 information desk will operate. Up until June 19th arrivals are allowed from countries that fall under categories A (low risk) or B (moderate risk), on the basis of the assessment of the Epidemiological Surveillance and Control Unit for Infectious Diseases of the MoH (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/en/press/25052020_4.pdf).

According to the Decree issued by the Minister of Health on June 5th all persons arriving in the Republic (as of June 9th) who are tested positive to COVID-19, must remain in compulsory isolation (quarantine), as per medical protocol of the MoH (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/diat/44.pdf).

Update May 25th

On May 22nd the Council of Ministers, following the recommendations of the scientific advisory committee, decided that hotels will reopen on June 1st and airports on June 8th. Based on their epidemiological situation/profile, countries have been classified into three groups:
  • Group A: Greece, Malta, Bulgaria, Norway, Austria, Finland, Slovenia, Hungary, Israel, Denmark, Germany, Slovakia, and Lithuania.
  • Group B: Switzerland, Poland, Romania, Croatia, Estonia and Czech republic.
  • Group C: all other countries.

As of June 9th and until June 19th, it will be mandatory, for all travelers from countries that belong to groups A and B to possess a SARS-CoV-2 certificate with a negative result. This certificate must have be issued no later than 72 hours prior to their departure. After June 19th this certificate will only be necessary for travelers coming from countries that belong to group B. Regarding all other countries, repatriation is only permitted for Cypriots, provided they have a recent SARS-CoV-2 certificate (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/22052020_16.pdf).

As of May 25th 2020, compulsory quarantine is terminated and all persons accommodated in quarantine facilities will need to return to their residences and remain self-isolated for the remaining days of their quarantine (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/22052020_16.pdf).

According to the latest decree (No 25) issued by the MoH on May 22nd, as of May 25th and until June 8th, persons repatriating will be mandatorily tested for coronavirus upon their arrival in Cyprus and will be quarantined for one day or until they receive their test results. If the result is negative, they will need to remain in self-isolation for one week if they are coming from a country that belongs to group A and for two weeks if they are coming from a country that belongs to group B (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/diat/37.pdf).

At the beginning of the epidemic, home isolation was limited to people with laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19 and suspected cases and their close contacts. Close contacts are defined as: a) persons living in the same house as a COVID-19 case;  b) persons who had direct physical contact with a COVID-19 case; c) Persons who had unprotected direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g. being coughed on, touching used paper tissues with a bare hand); d) persons who had face-to-face contact with a COVID-19 case within 2 meters for longer than 15 minutes; e) persons who were in a closed environment (e.g. classroom, meeting room, hospital waiting room, etc.) with a COVID-19 case for longer than 15 minutes and at a distance of less than 2 meters; f) healthcare workers or other persons providing direct care for a COVID-19 patient, or laboratory workers handling specimens from a COVID-19 case without recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) or with a possible breach of PPE; g) persons in an aircraft sitting within two seats (in any direction) of the COVID-19 case, travel companions or persons providing care, and crew members serving in the section of the aircraft where the index case was seated (if severity of symptoms or movement of the case indicate more extensive exposure, passengers seated in the entire section or all passengers on the aircraft may be considered close contacts).

The criteria for suspected cases have changed throughout the epidemic. From January to late February the definition included asymptomatic travellers returning from lockdown zones in Hubei, China and Northern Italy as well as symptomatic travellers from other high-risk areas and contacts of confirmed cases. Only symptomatic cases were referred for testing and were advised to self-isolate until confirmation of a negative test result. This has now changed and since March 2020, all individuals with either a fever or a persistent cough are advised to get in contact via telephone with their personal doctor, isolating themselves at home for 14 days from symptoms onset without any testing unless they are hospitalised.

Mandatory quarantine measures were introduced early on for people returning from places with very high infection rates, including Wuhan, China and people who had been on cruises with confirmed COVID-19 cases. Also, all students, mainly from Greece and the United Kingdom (about 1,210 in number) that had been repatriated until March 21st were quarantined for 14 days at designated premises (hotels) under the responsibility of the government.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 19,000 people from 125 countries have expressed their desire to repatriate. The majority are coming from UK and Greece. So far (03/05/20), 4,000 people have returned. All have been quarantined for 14 days and nine of them have tested positive for coronavirus.(https://gr.euronews.com/2020/04/28/kypros-4000-atoma-anamenetai-na-epanapatristoun-mexri-telos-apriliou-covid-coronavirushttps://gr.euronews.com/2020/04/28/kypros-4000-atoma-anamenetai-na-epanapatristoun-mexri-telos-apriliou-covid-coronavirus).

Update 31st May 2020
On May 25th the MoH announced updated procedures that should be followed by repatriated persons. More specifically, persons who have already arrived in the country and were in compulsory quarantine will be given the choice to remain in quarantine at the hotels designated by the Deputy Ministry of Tourism until the completion of the 14–day quarantine period if they so wish. Those persons who wish to continue self-isolation at home, should remain there for 14-days following their arrival in Cyprus. Repatriated Cypriots arriving between May 25th and June 8th, will continue to be tested upon their arrival and transferred to a hotel designated by the state until the announcement of the result. If the result is negative, they shall remain in self-isolation for the time period imposed in accordance with the instructions and the protocols (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/25052020_5.pdf).

Finally, long-term care facilities as well as prisons and immigration centres have been advised to close for visitors. These facilities have been also advised to place suspected cases in protective isolation and request their symptomatic staff to self-isolate at home.