NICOSIA, July 3 (Xinhua) -- The Cypriot government decided on Friday to include the United Kingdom in travel Group B countries as of Aug. 1, which means that a negative COVID-19 test certificate will be required for British travelers, according to Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou.
"Britain's data, according to the presentation done by the epidemiological team, are good, and it has been decided, that if the same good epidemiological profile continues, it can be placed in category B by Aug. 1," Ioannou said after a meeting of Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, ministers and epidemiologists.
Accounting for a tourist share of 33 percent in Cyprus, UK is a major source of tourists of the country.
According to Ioannou, on the advice of chief virologist professor Leondios Kostrikis, the government decided to increase five-fold the random coronavirus tests on incoming travelers from the present level of 300 each day to 1,500 with no extra charges.
A specialist explained that under this practice, five samples will be mixed into one test. In case of a positive result, all five samples in the batch will be tested separately.
Deputy Minister of Tourism Savvas Perdios, commenting on the inclusion of Britain in Group B, said there has been a big interest from travel agents who wanted to know when it would be possible to include the UK in category B.
Meanwhile, Limassol city on the southern coast of Cyprus said that it decided to cancel one of the island's biggest tourist events, the wine festival, which is traditionally held at the beginning of September.
"Free wine and very large crowds do not go hand in hand with the effort to completely eliminate the pandemic," Limassol's Mayor Nicos Nicolaides said.
The city's town Hall said it would organize instead smaller scale events towards the end of September with free entrance. Enditem