Cyprus is relying on rapid testing schemes to get ahead of the pandemic after authorities said antigen tests will no longer need confirmation through more exact PCR tests.
Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou urged the public to take advantage of free antigen rapid test at various mobile units across the island.
“Early detection and immediate isolation of cases are crucial in trying to stop the further spread of the virus,” said the Minister.
The Health Ministry on Monday announced that it will be treating those who test positive after a rapid test as a confirmed coronavirus case.
The new guidelines are effective immediately. Individuals who test positive from rapid tests will be treated as confirmed cases and will not need PCR verification.
In statements to ANT1 TV, Health Ministry spokesperson, Margarita Kyriacou said that since most rapid test results, approximately 97-98%, are reconfirmed through PCR tests, it was decided not to continue.
Those tested who had tested positive with a rapid test had to be confirmed with a PCR test to be officially identified as a positive COVID-19 case.
People found to be positive for COVID-19 through a rapid antigen test will receive self-isolation instructions within 24 hours from having taken the test.
Confirmed cases are asked to first inform their close contacts and go into self-isolation until the Epidemiological Surveillance Unit contacts them, to get the details of their contacts.
Contacts will be notified through an SMS sent from the health services.
The text message sent to confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases, and their close contacts, is considered an official notice to immediately self-isolate.
Since the rapid testing schemes were launched by the authorities in November, daily cases have gradually built up into the 100s.