Around 700 people will return to Cyprus in coming days, Transport Minister says

A total of 198 Cypriots have arrived in Cyprus from various countries abroad where they were stranded due to the coronavirus pandemic, Transport, Communications and Works Minister Yiannis Karousos has said, adding that about 700 people will be repatriated in the coming days from Britain and Greece.

In statements in Larnaka, on Friday, Karousos said that until 1400 hours local time (1200 GMT) 198 people who fulfilled the requirements have returned and have been transported to places where they will be kept in quarantine for 14 days.”

It is expected that another 700 people will be repatriated in the next two days, he added.

The Minister reiterated that Cypriots who are abroad can communicate with +357 24841100 at the call center which started operating yesterday evening so that they can give their details and be informed of the flights they can board to return back to Cyprus.

The call center will operate until 2000 hours local time this evening, he said, adding that a list of people who have acquired the necessary certificates by the Republic of Cyprus diplomatic missions so that the details they give can be confirmed.

This afternoon, he noted, after the arrival of scheduled flights from Greece, the procedure of repatriating citizens who are in Greece and are there for medical reasons, professional reasons or are there on holiday will begin.

Replying to a question Karousos said that other flights have been chartered, adding that only people who are in the list submitted to the Transport Ministry by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is continuously updated, will be able to board them

Anyone who attempts for other reasons to board those flights to return to Cyprus will be committing a criminal offence, he warned.

He further noted that there will be flights tomorrow with over 600 available seats from the UK to Cyprus. “It is expected that about 700 people will be repatriated in the coming days from Britain and Greece,” he added.

The call center, Karousos said, received over 1,000 calls during the first hour of its operation and assured that the government is doing its utmost to repatriate all the people who fulfill the criteria and are able to travel.

Referring to Cypriots who are in other European countries, he said that they can travel to the UK and board the chartered flights which have been arranged, adding that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will look after the repatriation of Cypriots who are in other countries.

Karousos also said that Cyprus has sent a letter to the European Commission informing it on the ban in place for flights to Larnaka and Pafos airports for 14 days.

“The decree is in place for all countries and exceptions will be made only if the Ministry grants permission for reasons of repatriation, humanitarian reasons or for special cases which have to do with the public interest,” he noted.

Flights which do not have a relevant permit will be allowed to land in Cyprus without passengers to repatriate citizens of other countries who wish to return home, he pointed out. A Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) will be issued shortly on the flights which will be used for the repatriation of our fellow citizens, he said.

Source: Cyprus News Agency