Cyprus to let in Brits with COVID vaccine from May 1

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Cyprus Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios speaks during an interview with Reuters in his office in Nicosia

NICOSIA (Reuters) - Cyprus will allow British tourists who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 into the country without restrictions from May 1, its tourism minister said on Thursday.

British visitors are the largest market for Cyprus's tourism industry, which has suffered from the coronavirus pandemic. Arrivals and earnings from the sector, which represents about 13% of the Cypriot economy, plunged on average 85% in 2020.

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"We have informed the British government that from May 1 we will facilitate the arrival of British nationals who have been vaccinated ... so they can visit Cyprus without a negative test or needing to quarantine," Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios told the semi-official Cyprus News Agency.

Visitors would need to be inoculated with vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency, he said. The second dose of a vaccine should be administered at the latest seven days before travel.

Authorities would still reserve the right to carry out random tests on arrivals, he added.

Cyprus has been in and out of lockdown for about a year, but its coronavirus outbreak has been mild compared to other countries. By Thursday, it had recorded a total of 36,004 infections and 232 deaths.

Authorities have also introduced widespread testing, with almost everyone obliged to take a test once a week.

(Writing by Michele Kambas; Editing by Daniel Wallis)