The Cypriot government has said it will cover the vacation costs of any tourists who contract the coronavirus while holidaying in the country.
Officials pledged to pay for travelers’ accommodation, food, drink and medication if they test positive for Covid-19 after entering the country. It said travelers will only need to foot the bill for their airport transfer and return flight.
A “Covid-19 hospital” with 100 beds will be provided exclusively for foreign visitors who contract the virus and additional beds can be made available if needed, the government said.
For travelers who show critical symptoms, it plans to offer an additional 112 intensive care units for treatment, with 200 respirators.
And 500 rooms in dedicated “quarantine hotels” will be offered to close contacts of the person infected with the coronavirus, with more to be made available if necessary.
“This will not only ensure that they are properly taken care of, but it will also provide peace of mind to other travelers, that their accommodation is free of Covid-19,” the Cypriot government said in a letter to its tourism partners dated Tuesday.
It also said that the room in a hotel where the tourist who contracted the virus has stayed in will undergo a deep clean and disinfection before being used again.
Cyprus has confirmed 939 cases of Covid-19 and 17 deaths from the virus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Cyrpus started to ease its lockdown on May 4, with the government saying it expects the “full containment of the virus” by May 31. Its hospitality businesses are due to open on June 1 and international air travel will resume on June 9.
Initially, all visitors will be required to take a coronavirus test in their own country within 72 hours before traveling to Cyprus.
The government then plans to lift travel restrictions for a number of countries by June 20, with a list provided on its Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Ministry of Tourism websites, updated weekly from this point forward.
Countries it has so far assessed as “low risk” include Germany, Greece, Norway, Finland and Denmark among others.
Though it said people from places on its second list of higher risk countries, which currently includes Switzerland and Poland, would still need to take the coronavirus test in advance of traveling to Cyprus from June 20.
Nearly 4 million tourists visited Cyprus last year, bringing in revenues of 2.7 billion euros, according to government data. Tourism reportedly accounts for 13% of the country’s economy.
In the letter, the government said that its ratio of intensive care unit beds per 100,000 people was higher than the EU average. It claimed to have had one of the lowest ratios of coronavirus cases per capita in Europe and to have tested more than 10% of the country’s inhabitants.
Social distancing and hygiene rules for tourists and Cypriot businesses were also outlined in the government letter, including a limit of 10 people in a group in restaurants, bars, cafes, pubs and nightclubs.