COVID19: Rapid tests boosted to 20,000 daily

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Cyprus will double its daily antigen rapid tests as of Thursday, to check a significant number of the workforce that will return after the end of the second lockdown period on January 31.

Authorities will allow hairdressers and beauty salons to reopen from Monday February 1, up to 50% of staff can return to work in the services sector and limited family gatherings will be permitted.

Malls, large department stores, and primary schools will reopen a week later, on February 8, as well as the graduating class of the lyceum high schools.

Churches will also reopen for worship after that date, with a maximum of 50 people in attendance. However, restaurants, bars and cafés will continue to remain closed.

The health ministry said the aim is to ensure “the smoothest and safest possible reactivation of businesses, so as to reduce the risk of the virus spreading within the workplace.”

It added that from Thursday to Sunday it is increasing the testing locations to 51, will extend the operating hours in most cases from 8am to 6.30pm, compared to 8.30am to 4pm at present, and will double the testing personnel in order to raise the daily capacity to 20,000 tests.

By decree, those returning to work, including public school teachers, must have a negative test result to be allowed back.

Staff will need to test regularly and on a weekly basis as follows:

  • Where up to 3 people work in the same department, all have to be tested;
  • Where 4 to 10 people work in the same department, at least 4 need to be tested;
  • Where more than 10 people work in the same department, at least 4 need to be tested or at least 20% of the workforce.

The ministry said that health inspectors will randomly visit places of work to ensure the protocols are maintained and that staff are tested on a weekly basis.


The testing centres in each district

The testing locations in each district from January 28 to 31 are as follows:

LIMASSOL – Ayiou Ioanni Eleymon church, Mesa Yitonia cultural centre, Apostles Peter and Paul church in Kapsalos, Panayia Evangelistria church in Polemidia, Panayia Chrysopolitissa church in Ypsonas, Ayia Varvara church in Zakaki, Yermasoyia municipal cultural centre, Apostolas Loucas church in Ayios Athanasios, Kouris community centre in Erimi, Trimiklini community centre, Ayios Stylianos church in Linopetra, and Pyrgos community centre near Limassol.

LARNACA – Ayios Georgios Kontou cultural centre, Apostolos Varnavas church in Krasas area, Ayios Savas community centre in Livadia, Dromolaxia municipal amphitheatre, Omonia Aradippou sports club, old market centre in Xylotymbou (8am-1pm), Ormidia community centre (1.30-6.30pm), Kofinou cultural centre (8am-1pm), Kornos community medical centre (1.30-6.30pm), Athienou closed sports arena (8am-1pm), Oroklini old community centre on Armonias street (1.30-6.30pm).

NICOSIA – State Fair (East entrance), Apostolos Andreas church in Aglandjia (Kyrenia Ave.), Panayia Evangelistria church in Pallouriotissa, Ayios Georgios church in Latsia, Ayia Paraskevi church in Lakatamia, Tis Tou Theou Sofias cathedral in Strovolos, Panayia Trachonas church in Strovolos, Apostolos Varnavas church in Strovolos, Ayios Demetrios church in Acropolis, Metmorfoseos Sotiros church in Anthoupolis, Ayios Georgios church in Deftera, Apostolos Varnavas church in Kokkinotrimithia, Dhali community medical centre, Astromeritis community centre, Kakopetria community centre.

PAPHOS – Apostolon Pavlou and Varnavas church, District Officer’s old residence (Griva Digheni str.), Apostolou Andrea church in Polis Chrysochous (8am-1pm), Emba community centre (1.30-6.30pm), Timi community medical centre (8am-1pm), Ayia Paraskevi church in Yeroskipou (1.30-6.30pm).

FAMAGUSTA – Paralimni Metropolitan church centre (8am-4.30pm), Onisilos club in Sotira (8am-1pm), Ayia Napa church (1.30-6.30pm), Avgorou senior citizens’ club (8am-1pm), Liopetri community club (1.30-6.30pm), Frenaros community centre (8am-1pm), Dherynia seniors’ club (1.30-6.30pm).

For those businesses wishing to conduct rapid tests privately for their employees, the health ministry said that the antigen rapid test has been set at €20 per test.