THE country of Cyprus is trying to attract tourists after regional restrictions have ended by financing medical expenses for anyone who is positive for COVID-19 while vacationing on the island.

Reporting from AFP, this plan was conveyed to tour operators and airlines about the details of Cyprus’s steps to ensure the security of the tourism sector. The letter was published recently and signed by the foreign minister, transportation and tourism.

The Mediterranean island is promoting its country as a safe holiday destination during the corona virus pandemic. The Republic of Cyprus reports 939 cases of corona virus with 17 fatalities.

The Cyprus government says they are committed to safeguarding all travelers who have proven to be positive while staying there, as well as family and those closest to travelers.

The government has promised to pay for accommodation, meals and medical care if tourists fall ill due to the virus. Travelers only need to pay the airport transfer and repatriation flight fees.

As many as 100 beds in the hospital are available exclusively for tourists who are COVID-19 positive, and there are still plenty of appropriate available “in a short amount of time if needed”.

There are 112 places in the intensive care unit with 200 respirators available for critically ill patients. A specially designed quarantine hotel provides 500 rooms for families and the closest patients. Other hotels on the island continue to operate when there are positive guests who are infected, but the rooms will be cleaned very thoroughly.

Authorities estimate tourist arrivals to decline by 70 percent by 2020. Cyprus plans to reopen airports on June 9 for arrivals from 13 countries deemed low risk, namely Israel, Greece, Germany, Austria and Malta, but their two biggest markets, Britain and Russia, not on the list of approved countries.

Those who arrive between 9-19 June need to provide a health certificate proving that they do not have the virus. The conditions will be lifted from June 20, when six other countries are added to the approved list, including Switzerland and Poland.

Cyprus says it will renew the list of approved countries every week. The clerk will do a temperature check and a free check at random to people who come. After testing more than 10% of the population, Cyprus says their infection rate is lowest in Europe. [antaranews/photo special]