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COVID19: Vaccination rollout reaches 67 plus

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Cyprus’ COVID-19 vaccination rollout is moving onto people aged 67 and over as the Health Ministry announced that another 22,808 inoculation slots would go online from Tuesday.

Cyprus’ vaccination program has picked up speed as deliveries in March have increased, with authorities closing in on vaccinating the first 100,000 of the island’s population.

The Health Ministry said that as of Sunday, a total of 99,275 jabs had been administered, with 28,741 people having received both doses and 70,534 the first dose.

Meanwhile, vaccinating people at high risk of illness is also expected to pick up over the next few days, aiming at least 30,000 receiving the first jab before the end of the month.

The Health Ministry also noted that Cyprus had met the EU target of vaccinating at least 80% of health professionals by March, in line with European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) guidelines, while also reaching the target of protecting through vaccination people aged over 75.

Some 9.2% of the island’s population aged over 18 has been inoculated with the first dose, ranking Cyprus third in the EU for vaccination coverage.

“Based on figures from the website Our World in Data, Cyprus remains among the top EU countries when it comes to vaccinations, with at least one dose administered per 100 people (11.42),” the ministry said.

President Nicos Anastasiades has welcomed the progress of the vaccination program.

He tweeted, “as the shield of protection grows bigger, so does hope for people to return to their daily routine with safety”.

Anastasiades thanked the scientists and the people implementing the “largest inoculation program in the Republic of Cyprus’ history.”

Authorities are preparing the next stage out of a second national lockdown, with scientists meeting the Health Minister on Tuesday to evaluate the worsening COVID-19 data.

Next week, restaurants and cafes are expected to reopen, under strict measures, and the last of the school students can also return to class.

The government imposed a second national lockdown on January 10 after daily infections peaked at 907 on December 29.

First relaxations came on February 1, when more than 50% of employees returned to work, and elementary and final-year high school students went back to class on 8 February.

Retail shops also opened on 8 February, while the hospitality sector has been told to hold on until 16 March.

Cyprus reported 303 new coronavirus cases and one more death on Sunday, ending a week of daily infections exceeding 200, increasing from the near 100 at the end of January.

Total COVID-19 infections are 36,808 and 233 deaths.