Klopp Says Inter Milan Not Coming To Liverpool As ‘Tourists’

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp takes a training session at the Axa training centre in Kirkby, north of Liverpool in north-west England on November 23, 2021, on the eve of their UEFA Champions League, Group B football match against Porto. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Jurgen Klopp said Inter Milan were not coming to Liverpool as tourists this week even though they are trailing 2-0 after the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

Liverpool are well-placed to qualify for the quarter-finals ahead of Tuesday’s second leg at Anfield after Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah scored in Italy last month.

But Klopp is taking nothing for granted as his side seek to stay on track for an unprecedented quadruple of trophies after beating Chelsea on penalties to win the League Cup last week.

“The danger everybody knows about — it’s 2-0,” Klopp said in his pre-match press conference on Monday. “I think it’s the lead which got turned over most often in the history of football.

“If you get to half-time 2-0 up and you have a team who thinks we are halfway through then you are already on the wrong path.

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“It’s a much better result than I would have expected before we played there. The game didn’t look like we would win it 2-0 for most of the time. It was a really tough tie and a really difficult game to play.”

Klopp said Inter, second in Serie A, had real quality, shown in their 5-0 victory over bottom side Salernitana last week.

“It’s a really good, really experienced team and they don’t come here as tourists,” said the German.

“I know that they want to chase the game and that’s what we want to do because we are not a team who defends results or tries to get through somehow. We want to attack the game again.”

Klopp said Firmino, Thiago Alcantara and Joel Matip had returned to full training after injury and illness issues.

The trio will be assessed ahead of the Inter match but Klopp said because Firmino had been out for longer — he has not played since the Inter game — he might not be risked.

Australia Re-Opens To Tourists After Two-Year COVID-19 Closure

Staff offer flowers to passengers upon arrival at the Sydney International Airport on February 21, 2022, as Australia reopened its borders for fully vaccinated visa holders, tourists, and business travellers. (Photo by SAEED KHAN / AFP)

 

Jubilant visitors returned to Australia Monday as the country reopened its borders to vaccinated tourists, nearly two years after the island nation imposed some of the world’s strictest Covid-19 travel restrictions.

At the country’s two major international airports in Sydney and Melbourne, tired but elated family and friends rushed from gates to embrace loved ones after years apart.

Bernie Edmonds was emotional as he hugged his eight-year-old granddaughter, Charlotte, who had just landed in Sydney.

“It’s great to have her back,” he said. “She’s got to go again but we’ll get her back again.”

The country closed its borders to almost everyone except citizens and permanent residents in March 2020, trying to slow surging Covid-19 case numbers.

The travel ban — which also barred citizens from going overseas without an exemption and imposed a strict cap on international arrivals — earned the country the nickname “Fortress Australia”.

Sydneysider Jody Tuchin was excited to pick up her best friend, who she had not seen since 2018.

“He made it back just in time for my wedding in four days,” she told AFP.

Meanwhile, Qantas pilot Paul Grant said it was “nice to have passengers back on again”.

A Qantas flight from Los Angeles was the first to touch down in Sydney at 6:20 am (1920 GMT) followed by arrivals from Tokyo, Vancouver and Singapore.

“It’s fair to say we’ve all been waiting a long time to welcome visitors back to Australia,” Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said.

The national carrier expects to bring more than 14,000 passengers into Australia this week — the start of what many believe will be a long, slow recovery for a tourism sector devastated by the pandemic.

“I think we’re going to see a very, very strong rebound,” Tourism Minister Dan Tehan said at Sydney airport, wearing a t-shirt with the words: “Welcome Back”.

Attracting tourists from China, previously Australia’s biggest market, would be difficult while Beijing enforces a zero-Covid policy, Tehan admitted.

“But as soon as that changes, Tourism Australia have been doing a lot of work to make sure that we will be ready to encourage those Chinese visitors to come.”

The Australian government has launched a AUS$40 million ($28.7 million) advertising campaign to lure tourists back, but only 56 international flights are scheduled to land in the country in the 24 hours after the re-opening — far below pre-pandemic levels.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had “no doubt” traveller numbers will scale up in time.

– ‘Fortress Australia’ –

Every month under “Fortress Australia” has cost businesses an estimated AUS$3.6 billion, according to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, with tourism particularly hard hit.

Tony Walker, managing director of Quicksilver Group, which operates cruises, diving excursions and resorts across the Great Barrier Reef, told AFP he was “very excited about being able to re-open”.

International tourists “make up around 70 percent” of business for tourism operators on the reef, Walker said, making the two-year border closure “incredibly difficult”.

During the pandemic, his company had to reduce its employees from 650 to the 300 it has today.

Key to Australia’s reopening is a government requirement that all overseas travellers must be fully vaccinated.

At Sydney Airport, American tourist Robert Landis said this had not dissuaded him from visiting.

“I’ve just been looking for any opportunity to get down here,” he said.

However, the Australian Tourism Export Council warned this week that “there are worrying signs consumers are wary of travelling” to Australia, with “confusion over our various state travel restrictions and concern about snap border closures” a key issue.

– No west just yet –

Western Australia will not re-open to international travellers on Monday, holding off until March 3.

Until recently, the state had pursued a strict Covid-zero policy, cutting itself off from the rest of the country.

The decision sparked lawsuits — and the observation that it was easier for Australians to travel to Paris than Perth — but proved popular with West Australians.

Bali Welcomes Back Tourists With First International Flight

Travellers walk through the international arrivals hall at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Tuban near Denpasar on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali on February 16, 2022, after a Singapore Airlines flight arrived following a nearly two-year break due to Covid-19. (Photo by SONNY TUMBELAKA / AFP)

 

Bali began a tentative re-opening to foreign tourists on Wednesday with the first international passenger flight to the Indonesian holiday island in nearly two years.

The resumption of flights comes as the Southeast Asian archipelago loosens quarantine rules even as it battles a surge in Covid cases fuelled by the Omicron variant.

A Singapore Airlines plane carrying 109 international travellers and 47 Indonesians landed in Bali on Wednesday, the island’s governor Wayan Koster told a press conference.

The foreign visitors must stay in a quarantine bubble at one of 27 designated hotels for three to seven days, depending on the number of vaccine doses received, according to new nationwide rules published Wednesday.

“I hope that in early March, there will be no more quarantine obligation for tourists as long as they comply with health protocol requirements and show negative test results on departure and arrival,” the governor said.

Arriving at Bali airport, Australian holidaymaker James said the re-opening was a “great sign” for tourism.

Swiss national Manuela, a frequent visitor to Bali before the pandemic, said she had been eagerly anticipating the first flight to the “Island of the Gods”.

“Two years not going to Bali is a long time. After my friend wrote me that Bali would open, I immediately looked for the first flight,” she said.

Singapore Airlines said it will operate daily flights between the city-state and Bali to meet “good demand”.

Other airlines including Australia-based Jetstar Airways could resume flights to the holiday hotspot as early as next month, Bali’s governor added.

“We are aware of the increasing and fluctuating Omicron variant cases, but as long as we are strictly implementing health protocols, we should not be worried,” said Bali Hotel and Restaurant Association chair Rai Wijaya.

Bali authorities trialled a limited re-opening in October for a group of select countries but the response was tepid due to strict quarantine requirements and the absence of direct flights.

Indonesia reported a record number of new coronavirus cases on Tuesday.

Daily infections topped 57,000, according to the government’s Covid-19 taskforce, surpassing the previous peak in July last year during the country’s Delta wave.

Elsewhere in the region, the Philippines re-opened for international tourism last week while Vietnam is planning to welcome back foreign tourists from March 15.

Australia To Reopen Borders To Tourists On February 21

A man wearing a face mask walks towards tram station at Circular Quay in Sydney on July 19, 2021, amid a lockdown in Melbourne and Sydney as Australia seeks to contain a surge in coronavirus cases. Saeed KHAN / AFP
A man wearing a face mask walks towards tram station at Circular Quay in Sydney on July 19, 2021, amid a lockdown in Melbourne and Sydney as Australia seeks to contain a surge in coronavirus cases. Saeed KHAN / AFP

 

Australia will reopen its borders to tourists from February 21, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Monday, ending some of the world’s strictest and longest-running pandemic travel restrictions.

“It’s almost two years since we took the decision to close the borders to Australia,” Morrison said after a meeting of the national security cabinet.

He announced the borders will reopen to all visa holders “on the 21st of February of this year,” adding, “if you’re double vaccinated, we look forward to welcoming you back to Australia.”

Australia’s borders slammed shut in March 2020 in the hope of protecting the island continent against a surging global pandemic.

For most of the time since then, Australians have been barred from leaving and only a handful of visitors have been granted exemptions to enter.

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The rules have stranded nationals overseas, split families, hammered the country’s multi-billion-dollar tourist industry, and prompted often bitter debates about Australia’s status as a modern, open and outward-looking nation.

Every month of border closures has cost businesses an estimated US$2.6 billion, according to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In recent months, rules have been gradually relaxed for Australians, long-term residents and students.

The latest decision will see almost all remaining caps lifted.

It comes after the country’s long-standing “Covid-zero” policy was abandoned, vaccination rates rose and the once stellar track-and-trace system collapsed under a wave of Omicron cases.

Only a handful of countries remain closed to tourists — among them Japan, China, New Zealand and several Pacific Island nations.

– ‘Come visit’ –

For Australia’s travel and tourism sector — which struggled as visitor numbers fell almost 98 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels — the news brought elation.

“We’re very excited about being able to reopen,” said Tony Walker, managing director of the Quicksilver Group, which operates cruises, diving and resorts across the Great Barrier Reef.

“The last couple of years have been incredibly difficult for us,” he told AFP, urging people overseas to “come visit”.

During the pandemic the firm went from 650 employees down to the 300 it has today.

Walker said he expected “it will take some time to recover” from the past two years.

Many tourism operators around Australia are experiencing staff shortages, given how few backpackers and working holidaymakers are coming to Australia.

Despite the announcement, travel within Australia will still be restricted.

The vast state of Western Australia remains closed to most non-residents. It is currently easier to travel from Sydney to Paris than Sydney to Perth.

Thailand To Allow Vaccinated Tourists From Over 40 Countries, Says PM

People enjoy a drink at a roof-top bar as rain falls in Bangkok on October 21, 2021. (Photo by Jack TAYLOR / AFP)

 

Thai Premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha announced Thursday that vaccinated travellers from more than 40 countries will be allowed to enter the kingdom without undergoing quarantine come November 1, as it readies for a much-anticipated reopening.

The 46 countries and territories is a significant jump from the 10 initially announced last week by Prayut when he unveiled plans to reopen the country next month.

The ballooning list is due to Thailand’s urgent need “to stimulate the tourism sector and other related business sectors,” said Prayut.

“We need to move faster than that and do it now,” he wrote in a post on his official Facebook page.

“This is because waiting for everything to be perfect will be too late.”

Besides the United States, Britain and China, vaccinated tourists from a slew of European countries, including France and Germany will be allowed in, if they are able to provide a negative Covid RT-PCR test.

READ ALSO: UN Launches Cash Plan To Support Afghan Economy

Neighbours Cambodia and Malaysia are also on the “low-risk” list, as well as Singapore, Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong.

Upon landing in Thailand, travellers will have to take another Covid test and book a single night in a government-approved hotel while awaiting the results — before being allowed to travel freely.

“We know that this is a rapid acceleration and there is a risk that the number of infected people will increase, but it’s a risk that we have to accept,” Prayut said.

Before the pandemic, Thailand attracted nearly 40 million visitors, with tourism making up almost 20 per cent of its national income.

Last year, the country lost about $50 billion in tourism revenue as foreign arrivals plunged 83 per cent to 6.7 million.

Prayut had initially said earlier this year that 70 per cent of all Thais must be vaccinated before the kingdom fully reopened its borders. To date, nearly 40 per cent have received two vaccine doses.

Thailand is also still registering about 10,000 cases per day — largely fuelled by the highly contagious Delta variant.

The country has more than 1.8 million cases to date and has recorded 18,559 deaths.

Thailand To Re-Open To Vaccinated Tourists On November 1, Says PM

(FILES) In this file photo taken on August 14, 2021, a man swims in a hotel swimming pool in Phuket as tourists take advantage of the “Phuket Sandbox” programme for visitors fully vaccinated against the Covid-19 coronavirus. (Photo by Jack TAYLOR / AFP)

 

Thailand plans to fully re-open to vaccinated tourists travelling by air from countries deemed low risk from November 1, Premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha said Monday.

Before the pandemic, the kingdom attracted nearly 40 million visitors a year drawn to its picturesque beaches and robust nightlife, with tourism making up almost 20 percent of its national income.

But Covid-related travel restrictions have left the economy battered, contributing to its worst performance in more than 20 years.

Prayut announced Monday in a televised address the country will be reopening its borders to vaccinated tourists travelling by air from “low risk countries”.

The 10 nations considered low risk include Britain, the United States, China, Germany and Singapore.

“When they arrive, they should present a (negative) Covid test… and test once again upon arrival,” the prime minister said.

After getting a negative test, “they can travel freely like Thais,” he said.

His announcement significantly loosens up current restrictions in place for vaccinated tourists, who must undergo at least seven days quarantine in a hotel.

Thailand’s so-called “sandbox” scheme in Phuket — which allows vaccinated tourists to move freely around the popular beach island — currently requires them to remain there for a week.

Visitors outside of Thailand’s designated 10 low-risk countries are welcome, “but they have to be in quarantine,” said Prayut, adding that more nations would be added to the greenlit list in December.

He acknowledged the decision came with the risk of more coronavirus cases.

“But I think the people will not able to stand it if they have to lose a second chance at this business opportunity.”

Last year, Thailand lost about $50 billion in tourism revenue as foreign arrivals plunged 83 percent to 6.7 million, from a record 39.9 million two years ago.

Currently, the kingdom has more than 1.7 million cases, and has recorded 17,751 dead.

AFP

Tourists Told To Leave As COVID-19 Cases Rise In French Overseas Territories

The Eiffel Tower is reflected in a puddle as a man runs, on December 24, 2020 in Paris. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP)

 

Two French ministers were due on Tuesday to travel to the Caribbean as concern grows over spiralling Covid-19 infections in French overseas territories across the globe, with the island of Martinique tightening a lockdown and telling tourists to leave.

While well over half of people in mainland France have now received two vaccination doses, rates in its overseas territories, from the Caribbean to the Indian Ocean to the Pacific, have lagged well behind.

Authorities on the Caribbean island of Martinique late Monday announced that all non-essential shops would now be closed, as well as hotels and holiday rentals, adding that tourists should leave. Beaches would also be closed and people can only go within a 1 kilometre radius of their homes.

There are now 1,200 cases per 100,000 inhabitants on Martinique, while only 22 percent of the population have received even a first dose of the vaccination.

“These rules are strict and they will be lifted as soon as the health situation allows it,” the top official of Martinique, Stanislas Cazelles told reporters in its main city of Fort-de-France.

French Overseas Territories Minister Sebastien Lecornu and Health Minister Olivier Veran are both expected in the Caribbean later Tuesday for visits to Martinique and neighbouring Guadeloupe, which is also in a lockdown albeit less strict than that on Martinique.

READ ALSO: US Warns Citizens Against Travel To France Over COVID-19 Concerns

Veran had earlier this week made a video plea on social media for medical workers in mainland France to show “national solidarity” and volunteer to help the stretched medical teams on the islands. Some 240 volunteers are now due to leave on Tuesday.

In the Pacific territory of French Polynesia, authorities meanwhile announced curfew from 9:00 pm local time to deal with rising cases.

Tensions have been heightened by a marriage party at a restaurant that was attended hundreds of people including top local figures, in defiance of existing rules and without masks.

“We were not exemplary and I am infinitely sorry,” said the local president Edouard Fritch who was seen playing the guitar in the images that shocked many Polynesians while Papeete mayor Michel Buillard provided the vocals.

The Indian Ocean island of Le Reunion also remains in partial lockdown, a measure which like in the Caribbean has prompted protests that led to scuffles with the security forces.

AFP

Sri Lanka Welcomes First Tourists Despite New COVID-19 Strain

Ukraine passengers arrive at Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, in Mattala on December 28, 2020. – Sri Lanka welcomed its first foreign tourists in nine months on December 28 even as a new deadlier strain of the coronavirus gripped the island. (Photo by STR / AFP)

 

Sri Lanka welcomed its first foreign tourists in nine months Monday even as a new deadlier strain of the coronavirus gripped the island.

A charter flight carrying 185 passengers from Ukraine landed at a little-used airport south of the capital, which has been stricken by a surge in Covid-19 cases and deaths.

In less than three months, the official number of coronavirus fatalities has risen from 13 to 191, while the number of infections has gone from 3,300 to more than 41,000.

Still, authorities hope the Ukrainian arrivals will be the first of thousands of foreigners to visit — easing pressure on the tourism-reliant economy that was shut down in March.

The visitors, who had to produce coronavirus-free certificates before departure, were tested again on arrival at Rajapaksa International airport.

They will be confined to their hotels for the duration of their holiday.

“This is a pilot project to test our systems,” government spokesman Ramesh Pathirana said, adding that there would be a review after one month.

Sri Lanka’s international borders remain closed, with the exception of repatriation flights and charters approved by local health authorities.

But Sri Lanka is also scheduled to host a two-Test cricket tour by England next month.

The moves come despite authorities announcing a deadlier coronavirus strain.

Minister for COVID Disease Control, Sudharshini Fernandopulle, said the strain was more infectious than one which spread in Sri Lanka between January and October.

Greece Launches COVID-19 Questionnaire For Tourists

A street with shops near the beach in Pefkochori on Halkidiki Peninsula, Greece, on June 20, 2020. – One of Greece’s most popular tourism destinations, the Halkidiki peninsula provides hotels and apartments with around 100,000 rooms. Nearly 60 percent of business activity relies on the travel sector. Sakis MITROLIDIS / AFP.

 

Tourists travelling to Greece will be required from Wednesday to complete an online questionnaire 48 hours in advance to determine whether they need to be tested for coronavirus on arrival.

Over the weekend the Greek government ended random testing of travellers according to their country of origin, which had confused tourists who did not know whether they should spend a night in a hotel to be tested after landing in Athens and Thessaloniki, or go directly into quarantine.

Greece, which has a relatively low coronavirus death toll at 191, has launched a promotional campaign to revive tourism — which accounts for a quarter of its gross domestic product — and hopes to reassure potential travellers as well as Greeks who fear a resurgence of the pandemic with the return of tourists.

Under the new protocol, travellers are given scannable bar codes after they fill out a questionnaire with personal details such as their country of origin and the countries they have travelled through in the last 15 days.

The questionnaire is mandatory until August 31.

Bar codes will be scanned from printed paper or mobile devices at ports of arrival, which will determine whether travellers will be directed to the exit or to a screening area.

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Those who are tested will be told to isolate at the address provided on the questionnaire while waiting for the results.

The new protocol “is most likely to be able to detect the majority of imported cases”, Dimitris Paraskevis, a member of the health ministry’s expert committee, told Skai TV.

All airports in the country will reopen to international flights by Wednesday and the ports of Patras and Igoumenista will again receive ferries from Italy, while other ports will be reopened to cruise ships.

AFP

Italy Reopens To Tourists From Europe

In this file photo taken on November 04, 2019 tourists walk across St Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco) by St. Mark's Campanile (Rear L), St. Mark's Basilica (Basilica San Marco, Rear R) and the Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale, R) in Venice. MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP
In this file photo taken on November 04, 2019 tourists walk across St Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco) by St. Mark’s Campanile (Rear L), St. Mark’s Basilica (Basilica San Marco, Rear R) and the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale, R) in Venice. MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP.

 

Italy reopened to travellers from Europe on Wednesday, three months after the country went into coronavirus lockdown, with all hopes pinned on reviving the key tourism industry as the summer season begins.

Gondolas were ready to punt along Venice’s canals, lovers will be able to act out “Romeo and Juliet” on Verona’s famed balcony, and gladiator fans can pose for selfies at Rome’s Colosseum.

But there were fears many foreign tourists would be put off coming to a country still shaking off a vicious pandemic.

“Come to Calabria. There’s only one risk: that you’ll get fat,” the southern region’s governor Jole Santelli said on Sunday as the race began to lure big spenders — or any spenders — back to Italy’s sandy shores.

Italy was the first European country to be hit hard by the coronavirus and has officially reported more than 33,000 deaths.

It imposed an economically crippling lockdown in early March and has since seen its contagion numbers drop off dramatically.

With the country facing its deepest recession since World War II, it needs foreigners to return, and quickly.

But it is still reporting hundreds of new cases a day, particularly in the northern Lombardy region, and experts warn the government may be being hasty in permitting travel between regions and abroad.

READ ALSO: UK PM Johnson Condemns George Floyd killing, Calls For ‘Lawful’ Protests

“We hoped to see some movement from today, but have no foreign tourists booked in for this week or next,” said Alessandra Conti, receptionist at the Albergo del Senato hotel which overlooks the Pantheon in Rome.

“We’ve got a few reservations from mid-June… (but) are still getting lots of cancellations for this summer”.

– ‘Like a leper’ –

International flights were only expected to resume in three main cities: Milan, Rome and Naples.

And there were concerns that those who usually come in by car, train or ferry from neighbouring countries would go elsewhere on their holidays.

Switzerland has warned its citizens that if they go to Italy they will be subject to “health measures” on their return. The country will open its borders with Germany, France and Austria on June 15, but not with Italy.

Austria is lifting restrictions in mid-June with Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary — but again, not Italy, described last week by Vienna’s health minister as “still a hotspot”.

Other countries, such as Belgium and Britain, are still advising against, or forbidding, all non-essential travel abroad.

In response to perceived anti-Italian sentiment, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio has warned countries not to treat Italy “like a leper”.

He said Saturday he would be travelling to Germany, Slovenia and Greece to persuade them Italy is safe for foreign tourists.

Arrivals in Italy from Europe will not be required to self-isolate unless they have recently travelled from another continent.

At the border between the town of Ventimiglia in Italy and Menton in France, more people were trying to enter France from Italy than the other way round early Wednesday, but controls on the French side were very strict.

“The situation is a bit complex. There is a total reopening of the Italian borders, but the situation is not the same on the French side,” a police source told AFP, as drivers stuck in long queues sounded their horns.

– Too expensive –

Italy’s lockdown has had a particularly devastating effect on the tourism sector, which amounts to some 13 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Historic sites were shut, restaurants closed, and hotels were used to care for coronavirus sick.

Restaurants, cafes and beach establishments have slowly reopened over the past two weeks — although the government has said it reserves the right to impose localised lockdowns if it sees contagion numbers rise.

But only 40 of Rome’s 1,200 hotels have reopened, the Corriere della Sera newspaper said Monday, and just a dozen in Milan. It costs too much to open them if they will just stand empty.

“My hoteliers all want to reopen, but as long as the borders remain closed, it’s not possible,” Marco Michielli, deputy head of hoteliers’ association Federalberghi, said Saturday.

Italy’s national tourism agency (ENIT) said some 40 per cent of Italians traditionally travel abroad for their holidays, but could be forced this year to vacation at home, helping local businesses.

That may be little comfort to those running the country’s costly historic sites, because most of the tens of thousands of visitors that usually flock daily to the Tower of Pisa, Pantheon or Pompeii come from abroad.

AFP

Cyprus To Pay Medical Bill If Tourists Catch Coronavirus

File photo of a man wearing a mask as a precaution against COVID-19. PHOTO: QATAR OUT / AFP.

Cyprus hopes to attract tourists after its coronavirus lockdown by paying the medical costs of anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 while holidaying on the island, officials said on Wednesday.

The plan was outlined in a letter to tour operators and airlines detailing the measures Cyprus is taking to ensure the safety of its tourism sector.

The letter was made public Wednesday and signed by the ministers of foreign affairs, transport, and tourism.

The Mediterranean island is marketing itself as a safe holiday destination during the global pandemic.

The Republic of Cyprus has reported 939 novel coronavirus cases and only 17 deaths.

The government said it is “committed to taking care of all travellers who test positive during their stay, as well as their families and close contacts”.

It pledged to cover accommodation, dining and medical care if a tourist falls ill with the virus.

The “traveller will only need to bear the cost of their airport transfer and repatriation flight,” it said.

 ‘Quarantine hotels’

A 100-bed hospital will be available exclusively for tourists who test positive, with more beds available “at very short notice if required”.

An additional 112 beds in intensive care units with 200 respirators will be reserved for critically ill patients.

Designated “quarantine hotels” will have 500 rooms available for family members and close contacts of patients.

Other hotels on the island will be allowed to remain open if a guest tests positive, but their room will “undergo a deep clean”.

Authorities have forecast a 70 per cent decline in tourist arrivals in 2020.

Tourism earned Cyprus €2.68 billion ($2.94 bn) in 2019 — about 15 percent of gross domestic product — down one percent from the previous year, which was bolstered by a record 3.97 million arrivals.

Cyprus plans to reopen its airports on June 9 to arrivals from 13 countries considered low risk.

These include Israel, Greece, Germany, Austria and Malta but the island’s two biggest markets Britain and Russia are not on the approved list.

Those arriving between June 9–19 will need to provide a health certificate proving they do not have the virus.

That requirement will be dropped from June 20, when another six countries will be added to the approved list, including Switzerland and Poland.

Cyprus says it will update the list of approved countries on a weekly basis based on scientific advice.

Officials will administer temperature checks and free random testing of arrivals.

Having tested over 10 percent of its population, Cyprus says it has one of the lowest coronavirus infection rates in Europe.

“Very few countries worldwide, especially in the Mediterranean, can boast about such statistics,” the letter said.

AFP

COVID-19: Cuba To Quarantine Tourists, Close Borders

Stranded passengers line up looking for a flight to return to their countries, at Havana’s Jose Marti airport, on March 23, 2020. – As of Tuesday, March 24, no flights with tourists will be allowed into the country as a preventive measure against the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19. ADALBERTO ROQUE / AFP.

 

Cuba will quarantine foreign tourists from Tuesday when it seals its borders to guard against the spread of the new coronavirus, the prime minister said Monday, in a move cutting one of the communist country’s few revenue sources.

“All tourists still in hotels will be placed in quarantine… They cannot leave the hotel” until they find a flight home, Manuel Marrero said on state TV, adding that there were 32,500 holidaymakers from overseas on the Caribbean island on Monday.

Some of them rushed to the airport in Havana Monday, anxious about their chances of finding a flight — many are already full and carriers have started canceling routes.

Economically crippled by US sanctions, Cuba is largely dependent on its tourism revenue.

Until now, Cuba had bucked the regional trend of closing its borders to foreigners.

READ ALSO: Over 200,000 Coronavirus Cases Declared In Europe

That generated heavy criticism from a worried population where 20 percent are over 60 and there are often cuts in the water supply and a lack of soap.

Regularly washing hands has been one of the main pieces of advice that health authorities have given to help people avoid contracting the virus.

But now only citizens and foreign residents will be allowed to enter the country, which has so far counted 40 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Car rentals and tour excursions have also been canceled.

“Next week no tourists” will enter the country, said Marrero, adding that almost all hotels on the island would close.

Of the 32,500 tourists already on the island, 9,400 are staying in homestays. According to the government, they will be moved to state-run hotels.

Authorities on Monday also announced one-month-long school closures, an unprecedented move not seen since the 1959 revolution made education and health two of the country’s main pillars.

And Cubans themselves may not leave the island without authorization, except for their own health, the prime minister said.

A 61-year-old Italian tourist has been Cuba’s only coronavirus death so far, and all of the country’s other cases have been among foreigners or those who have had close contact with known cases.

Authorities have assured Cubans the virus is so far not circulating locally.

AFP