COVID19: Cyprus to ‘track, test, vaccinate’ out of lockdown

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As Cyprus prepares to ease more lockdown measures, health authorities are stepping up free mass testing, tracking cases and vaccinations to keep COVID-19 in check.

In an announcement Monday, the Health Ministry said that it would continue with the high number of daily tests, expand tracking processes to cover secondary contacts of known cases and push ahead with its vaccination rollout.

The Health Ministry declared Cyprus remains first in the EU for testing its population with an average of 25,554 tests per 100,000 daily.

During the week of 15-21 February, 202,614 rapid antigen tests were carried out, and 385 cases were identified.

Cyprus was the first EU country to turn to mass testing with rapid antigen tests in November, with the Health Ministry saying that since then, other European countries such as the UK and Germany have followed suit.

“Finding cases quickly through rapid antigen tests allows for the timely detection and isolation of virus-positive individuals and the immediate onset of tracing of their close contacts,” noted the ministry.

Meanwhile, the ministry said it would be speeding up its vaccination program as it expects to receive a total of 130,440 doses of Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines in March.

Health authorities are vaccinating people over the age of 74 and vulnerable groups of the population, currently people with Thalassaemia and kidney failure.

Those aged over 70 will be vaccinated within the next two weeks.

To date, 56,791 people have been vaccinated, of which 19,221 have received both jabs.

Cyprus health authorities have instructed all employees to get tested before returning to work, while businesses should have their staff tested every week.

Where up to three people work in the same place, all must be tested weekly; firms with four to 10 people must ensure at least four are tested each week.

Workplaces with more than 10 people need to test at least four people or 20% of employees weekly, whichever is greater in number.

Domestic helpers and self-employed such as plumbers, electricians, and gardeners must also get tested weekly.

Cyprus Sunday reported another 107 COVID-19 cases, taking the total to 33,260.

No deaths were reported over the weekend, with the number of COVID-19 deaths remaining at 229.