COVID19: Free tests for judges, lawyers, court officials

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Cyprus’ cabinet on Tuesday decided to offer 500 free COVID-19 tests to be performed on judges, lawyers and court officials.

The decision was taken after consultations between the Justice and Health Ministers and with the agreement of the Supreme Court.

Courts resumed business as usual from 4 May when the first stage of relaxing the lockdown came into effect.

The testing will be carried out islandwide with the number of tests distributed evenly among the districts.

All judges, lawyers and officials who visit courts for professional reasons are eligible for testing.

The cabinet said its decision was taken in view of the importance of testing in stemming coronavirus, as pointed out by the government’s advisory team on COVID-19.

The Health Ministry will enter into agreements with labs to carry out the tests, which are to be announced at a later stage.

The testing was approved after an initial proposal tabled by the Cyprus Bar Association to Justice Minister George Savvides.

The Cabinet also approved a proposal by Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou to continue subsidising testing for COVID-19 for specific groups of people and patients.

Special groups of people who should be tested for reasons of public health include those about to be admitted to hospitals, nursing homes for the elderly, shelters for abused women and children and pregnant women ready to give birth.

Also included on the list for free tests are drug addicts to be admitted in rehabilitation clinics, victims of trafficking before they are admitted to shelters, people with disabilities, detainees, and mentally ill patients.

Since 30 April some 1,100 people belonging to these categories have been tested.

In all other cases, the advisory scientific committee does not recommend mandatory testing, so if a patient is asked by their doctor to get tested, the patient must pay.

For frontline workers, it is the employer that must pay for the testing schemes provided.