From Friday, Cyprus increased the number of rapid testing stations as the country prepares to exit a third national lockdown from 10 May and allow free movement with proof of a negative test.
Over the coming days, the number of free government rapid testing centres will double to 85 as Cypriots return to work and school, increasing the need for tests.
Movement by SMS text message approval will be abolished and replaced with the so-called Coronapass needed to access hospitality, shops, gyms, churches, and event venues.
Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said the public would feel safer with the introduction of the Coronapass as society and the economy opens up.
A negative rapid test or PCR took within 72 hours, a vaccination card at least three weeks old or SMS releasing someone from quarantine in the last six months all count as a Coronapass.
Antibody test or home self-test kits are not valid as a Coronapass.
“Lockdowns are not the solution; we cannot keep the economy and society shut for too long.
“We need to cooperate, learn to live in a new reality, follow the measures and stay safe. Otherwise, we will constantly have the same problems,” said Ioannou.
The Coronapass is an interim solution, until 31 May, to help the government get closer to vaccinating 60% of the population with a first vaccine dose by the end of June.
More vaccines are being made available, and Cyprus has already vaccinated over 33% of the population with one vaccine jab.
Ioannou said the only people who can check if someone is carrying a valid Coronapass are police officers, government inspectors, or local authority official.
From 17 May, capacity at cultural sites and places of religious worship will increase, weddings and baptisms will be allowed, while businesses that remained closed for months will reopen, such as play centres, amusement parks, casinos, picnic areas.
From 1 June, the government is expected to lift most of the remaining restrictions, such as the curfew.