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Minister of Health Michalis Hadjipantelas announcing the new measures, Source: PIO

Cyprus makes SafePass mandatory in crowded indoor and outdoor places

Cyprus makes SafePass mandatory in crowded indoor and outdoor places

The government offers vaccination incentives as a surge in coronavirus infections relegates the island to the Red zone

The Cypriot government has come up with measures to increase vaccine uptake amid a recent surge in Covid-19 cases while introducing restrictions in places with a high risk of transmission. The decisions of the Council of Ministers were announced on Friday by the new Minister of Health Michalis Hadjipantelas. He appealed particularly to the young people who are hesitating to vaccinate to protect themselves and by extension, their families and the society in general.

Five pillars

According to the government’s Press and Information Office, the series of measures is divided into five pillars:

Pillar 1: Incentives to accelerate the vaccination plan:

  • All people vaccinated from 15 July to 31 August will be eligible for a vacation allowance, with details to be announced in the coming week by the Deputy Ministry of Tourism.
  • A five-day leave will be granted to soldiers who have been vaccinated or will be vaccinated until 31 August.
  • Employees in the public and the private sector will be entitled to a day-off from work for their first and second jab. The same applies for parents/legal guardians accompanying underage children for vaccination.

Pillar 2: The Minister of Health will continue consultation with public and private organisations and businesses, to provide incentives for vaccination, especially to young people aged 18-30. These incentives are expected to be unveiled at the next meeting of the Council of Ministers.

Pillar 3: Stricter measures will be introduced in places of increased congregation and increased risk of virus transmission, and in places which have seen a spike in new cases:

  • As of 9 July, a SafePass will be required for visiting indoor and outdoor spaces, where there is an increased risk of transmission and more than 20 persons gather (such as . work places, bars, clubs, weddings, graduation and birthday parties, etc.)
  • From 9 July until 20 July, football stadia, cinemas, theatres and concert venues will operate at 50 percent capacity, and will admit only individuals who are either fully vaccinated, have received their first dose of the vaccine three weeks prior, hold a negative PCR test result not older than 72 hours, or have recovered from COVID-19 infection in the last 6 months.
  • As of 21 July, the capacity of the above venues will be upped to 75 percent, and entry will be allowed only to fully vaccinated individuals and those who have recovered from the disease during the last six months.
  • As of 1 August, the provision ofree rapid antigen testing will be abolished.  Exempted from this decision are minors aged 12-15 and individuals aged 16 and over, who cannot be vaccinated due to serious health conditions.
  • As of 1 August, passengers who are Cypriot citizens and permanent residents must follow the protocols that apply for all passengers, unless they have been vaccinated with the first dose of the vaccine. Until now, all Cypriots and legal residents were entitled to a PCR test on arrival. After 1 August, this will only be available to vaccinated people and those who show a proof of recovery. This means that those arriving from Orange or Red zone countries must present a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours from the country they are travelling from. Exempted are minors aged 12-15 and individuals aged 16 and over, who cannot be vaccinated due to serious health conditions.

Pillar 4: The information campaign for public awareness concerning vaccinations will be intensified, focusing on the younger population.

Pillar 5: The government will exert stricter controls and supervision of the implementation of the protocols and health guidelines.

In the Red zone

The European Centre of Disease Control (ECDC) placed Cyprus in the Red zone because of a surge in coronavirus infections in the past couple of weeks. Countries enter the Red zone when their 14-day cumulative Covid-19 case notification rate is more than 200 but less than 500. On Friday, the health ministry announced 529 new Covid cases, and if this trend persists, the island risks falling in Deep Red territory.

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