COVID19: Cyprus eases restrictions, face masks stay

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Cyprus will tweak COVID-19 measures, easing restrictions on sporting events, cinemas, and theatres, but wearing a face mask remains compulsory, said Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas.

After a visit to the Parliament, where he informed MPs on the latest issues, Hadjipantelas said that entrance to sporting and cultural events would no longer be limited to fully jabbed people.

Unvaccinated people will be able to catch a film at the cinemas, or watch a football game up close, provided they carry a negative PCR test.

An increase in the number of people allowed at such events is also likely.

“The use of face masks will be with us for quite some time since it has been proven they do protect us against viruses,” the minister said.

“I consider it a very important measure of protection against coronavirus, but also other viruses, such as the flu, and one of the reasons that our country has good results is that we did not abolish the mask mandate.

“This is also the suggestion I have received from experts in the European Union.”

The new measures are expected to be approved by the cabinet on Friday.

The cabinet is also expected to approve a rise in the limit on people in indoor and outdoor places.

Hadjipantelas said the government felt confident to proceed with easing measures, prompted by a drop in COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations.

“However, there is no room for complacency.

“There are more factors that need to be taken into consideration, such as the opening of schools and universities, while the weather is changing.

“If these changes don’t bring about an increase in cases, we will consider more relaxations.”

On administering COVID-19 booster shots for the general population under 65, the minister said: “This will happen when we get the green light from experts.

“I have spoken today with the Head of the Advisory Committee, with whom I am in frequent communication.

“The committee will be meeting in the coming days to give its suggestions to the Ministry”.