Cyprus – Best chance for a Covid free Summer?

We understand that the current situation of Cyprus vis-à-vis the coronavirus pandemic is without a doubt a big factor in any decision to travel to Cyprus during the Summer of 2021.

Please find below a brief description of the current situation and how things are expected to develop during the next few weeks.

Please find below our analysis about

  • the current situation,
  • how events are expected to develop and
  • what we can do for you to minimise your travel risk.

Before starting, please let me clarify that the information to be provided are based on the best available data on the day of publication (22nd of May 2021). We are not scientists, but we make every effort to present fully and comprehensively all available facts (along with sources) so that you can make an informed decision and not blindly jump into conclusions based on out of context generalities (“no worries”).

CURRENT SITUATION

History

Cyprus opened its economy during the second half of March and relaxed the majority of health measures since the 1st of April. Before that date, Cyprus had one of the lowest infection rates in the world.

Due to a combination of factors (vaccinations were still prioritising people over 60, the low (at the time) infection rate, restrictions fatigue etc. made people careless), by the second half of April there was a huge increase of new infections; we went from 200-300 new cases per day to 800-900 new cases per day.

Consequently, a snap lockdown was implemented on the 25th of April which managed to reduce the number of infections from a maximum of 941 on the 20th of April to a much more reasonable 77 to 167 daily new infections during the last week.

The snap lockdown ended on the 10th of May. This had a detrimental effect on the decision by the UK government who published on the 17th of May their list of countries colour coding various destinations. In that list, the UK put Cyprus in the Amber category. Since the UK government used the 14 day moving average of new infections (which was calculated on the 14th of May), this means that they did not factor into their decision the fact that there was a huge decrease of new infection during the previous two weeks and that the number of new infections were far less than the 14 day average.

Vaccination program status

Cyprus has the fourth more successful vaccination effort in Europe (after Malta, the UK and Hungary).

As of 18/05/2021, more than 47% of the population have received at least one vaccine dose and 17.3% were fully vaccinated. The government expected that by yesterday 21/05/2021, the 50% mark (at least one vaccine dose) should have been reached for the whole of Cyprus.

The city of Pafos has the highest percentage of vaccinated people in Cyprus; the percentage of citizens of Pafos who received at least one dose has exceeded 50% of the total city population since the beginning of May.

Pafos district as a whole has also exceeded the 50% vaccination mark (at least one dose) since 15/05/2021. Pafos district, had zero new cases on 20/05/2021 – something not seen since last September.

Please refer to the chart from Politico below. Please note that the number of doses administered is correct, but the percentage of people fully vaccinated is obsolete; the correct number for 20/05/2021 was 18.6%.

Most people getting sick during the last 2 months were younger people between 18 to 40 years old. These are the age groups been vaccinated right now.

The age distribution of people who were vaccinated with at least one dose as of 14/05/2021 is as follows: –

The numbers for the younger ages (>40) should be much improved by now because they only became eligible for vaccination less than 2 weeks ago.

Locally, as of last week, any person over the age of 20 can go to his or her personal doctor and receive the Astra Zeneca vaccine with zero wait time. The Astra Zeneca vaccine is readily available in large numbers for anyone wanting it, no matter his or her age; the problem is the low demand for it – people prefer to take their chances and wait for a few extra weeks in order to get the Pfizer vaccine instead.

The alternative is to wait for the general government vaccination scheme to open for their age group, where people can also select Pfizer, Modern and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. This scheme has reached the 18-year-olds last Monday and more than 50% of 18–21-year-olds (the lowest priority age group) already have appointments for vaccination by the 29th of May.

Finally, Cyprus has the second fastest vaccination program in the world. This means that Cyprus will be one of the first Countries in the world which will reach herd immunity.

Please refer to the table below (dated 20/05/2021).

Due to all above factors, the successful vaccination program is expected to not only limit but further significantly reduce new infection rates. We expect that statistics, even one week in the future, will reflect the significant progress of Cyprus in controlling the pandemic.

Testing

Cyprus has the second highest testing numbers in the world of daily covid tests in relation to its population (only Denmark performs a higher number of tests per day per 100K of people). Furthermore, everyone who is unvaccinated must perform a covid test regularly; all people in service jobs who interact with other people must perform a rapid test either every 3 days or every week (this depends upon the type and place of work). This has been critical in breaking infection chains. It also means that the numbers and statistics provided by the local government are reliable and that there’s no chance of hidden clusters.

FUTURE EXPECTATIONS

The local mood is positive and both, health authorities and the public, expect a significant improvement in the epidemiological situation and all aspects of their daily life.

As a hard-won lesson from the previous year of false starts, with covid nothing is certain, but it is finally obvious that if current trends continue, we will have a (near) normal Summer.

Future classification of Cyprus by the UK Government

The UK Government has assigned destinations to each list based on a range of Covid-19 health metrics, including vaccination numbers, infection rates and prevalence of variants.

Considering all of these factors, before the second list review on the 7th of June, Cyprus is expected to demonstrate considerable improvement in all criteria under review:

  • Vaccination numbers: Well over 50% – third highest number in the EU.
  • Infection rates: Since we are entering the sweet spot of 2 weeks after lockdown, the numbers are expected to fall even further.
  • Infection rates: The infection rates indicate a considerable and sharp decline of new infections.
  • Prevalence of variants: The prevalent local variant since last February is the British variant which is obviously not a deal breaker for the UK government (no India, South African or Brazilian variants have been detected in the local population).
  • Testing: Second highest testing rates in the world
  • Positivity rate: 0.17% on 21/05/2021 (0.04% for Pafos District) and it shows a strong downward trend. The local current R number is much lower than the current UK R number.

Despite nothing being written in stone, most people expect that Cyprus is a leading candidate for inclusion into the Green category during the next list update on the 7th of June.

HOW TO MINIMISE YOUR RISK: BETTER PRICE AND BETTER TERMS

We will be happy to talk to every potential guest and provide them with a fully customisable quote, where all their worries and concerns are being taken into account.

If you are considering visiting Cyprus but at the same time you want to minimise your risks, please contact us by email (info@meltemivillas.com) and we will be happy to provide you with a fully personalised quote for direct booking which will meet your requirements.

More specifically, compared with bookings through agents, if you book your villa directly with us, we will be happy

  • To offer you a lower price
  • Better and more flexible cancellation terms, and
  • Better payment terms

After receiving your message, within the same or at a maximum the next working day, you will receive in your email inbox a customised quote with our best discounted quote. Because of the improved cancellation and payment terms, you will find that your risk is minimised and you will be able to defer any decisions to the future, after the UK Government’s next list update.

If after receiving our quote you have any questions or if you need clarification on any of the above, please do not hesitate to let me know and I will be delighted to help.

 

 

Last update: 22 May 2021

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