Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela announcing additional measures for the Christmas holidays , Source: PIO

Cyprus bets on testing to stave off Omicron onslaught

Cyprus bets on testing to stave off Omicron onslaught

The validity of the Covid recovery certificate will be reduced from 6 to 3 months

In line with the rest of Europe, Cyprus is seeing a rising daily number of new COVID-19 cases, which is reflected in increased number of hospitalizations. Health authorities on the island fear that the emergence of the Omicron variant may put an additional, hard-to-tackle burden on the healthcare system. Therefore, the Cypriot government, acting on the advice of the Scientific Advisory Committee, has decided to place additional barriers to the virus’ onslaught ahead of the Christmas holidays when people mix extensively.

Measures at a glance

The measures, announced yesterday by the Minister of Health, Michalis Hadjipantela, mostly comprise increasing the scope of the tested population.

  • After the Christmas break, schools will reopen on 10 January instead of 7 January. On the first day, all students, teachers and other school staff must present a negative test result (72 hour-PCR or 48-hour rapid antigen test).
  • From 22 December, access to the workplace will be possible only with a weekly PCR or rapid test valid for the entire 7 days. Exemption is provided only to workers who have received a booster. However, in case of a transmission chain occurring in a workplace, all staff members will undergo testing without exceptions.
  • From 22 December, people are advised to secure negative tests before visiting relatives and friends for Christmas (self-test for those double-jabbed or 48-hour rapid antigen test for the unvaccinated). The maximum number of people allowed in a house remains at 20.
  • From 31 January 2022, the validity period of the COVID-19 recovery certificate, needed for a SafePass, will be reduced from six to three months.
  • From 22 December 2021 until 6 January 2022, children aged 12-17 will be able to enter catering areas, theatres, cinemas, performance spaces, stadiums, weddings and christenings upon presentation of a negative PCR or rapid test valid for 72 hours. They must be accompanied by an adult who has completed his/her vaccination cycle.
  • The measures currently in place at care homes (for the elderly or vulnerable groups) will also apply for visitors and staff of day-care centres.

Vaccination rate sparks optimism

“We need to drop the “I” and look at the “we”, recognizing the superhuman efforts by doctors, by nursing staff and by scientists to beat this invisible threat. Now is the time for all of us to demonstrate individual responsibility and to follow the measures and instructions suggested by the experts,“ said Hadjipantela, as quoted by the government’s press and information office (PIO).

He added that what keeps him optimistic is the accelerating vaccination rate in the last 10 days, with 8,390 persons having received first vaccine dose, 11,813 the second shot, and 71,111 a booster.



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