CYPRUS is increasing safety measures and restrictions after a spike in coronavirus cases – just days after British tourists returned.
Face masks are now mandatory in large indoor spaces, such as supermarkets and shopping centres.
The rules apply to anyone over the age of six, with fines of €300 for those caught flouting the rules.
Random testing at airports will also increase from 600 per day to 1,000 per day.
According to local media, new cases have hit 25 which, while low, is a concern – cases have been rising since July 2 with overall cases at 1,150.
At its peak, Cyprus reported 58 new infections in one day, on April 1.
Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said the spike was “exceedingly worrying” due to people with no symptoms spreading the virus, adding that it was a “utopia” to believe the virus can be defeated without a vaccine.
Brits have been able to return to the country since August 1, with flights resuming from the UK.
However, the UK remains as a category B country, meaning British tourists have to have a negative coronavirus test up to 72 hours before travelling.
Some airlines have already cancelled flights due to the restrictions, including Jet2 until August 17, while TUI have threatened to cancel holidays as well.
Some families slammed the decision, after forking our hundreds for coronavirus tests – the NHS does not offer tests for travel purposes – only for their holidays to be cancelled.
Hannah Purvis wrote: “Imagine @jet2tweets emailing to cancel your flight 15 minutes after you’ve just paid for a private Covid test. Had the information since Monday but waiting till the last minute to cancel.”
Richard Marseden wrote: “This is diabolical! We have sorted COV19 tests, done all the relevant paperwork, so do we now just throw all that in the bin?! You will need to reimburse me quickly.”
A Jet2 spokesperson said: “Because of prohibitive entry restrictions into Cyprus, we have no choice but to suspend flights and holidays to Larnaca and Paphos up to and including 16th August.”
Cyprus’ top immunologist Dr Leontios Kostrikis told Sun Online Travel that the government was also seriously considering a proposal made by experts to conduct “pool testing” at airports on the island to help cut costs for families.
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