COVID19: No lockdown for unvaccinated

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Health authorities are not contemplating taking extra measures against the unvaccinated to stem an uptick of COVID-19 cases like other EU states, said head scientist Dr Constantinos Tsioutis.

Following a meeting with Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas on Monday, Dr Tsioutis, heading the team of government advisors on COVID-19, said there is no suggestion of imposing a lockdown on the unvaccinated.

“No one wants to talk about new measures that will divide people into different categories, least of all, us,” said Tsioutis when asked if Cyprus would follow what other EU countries have done.

“There are lots of measures that can be taken, as has been stressed. For example, vaccination has an effectiveness that, however, is strengthened by testing, distancing, masks,” he added.

“For this reason, we will be keeping in touch every week with colleagues from other services to analyse data better and be able to react promptly.

“We certainly do not want to reach the same situation in some of our neighbouring countries, so we must be in constant communication with each other and properly prepared.”

Austria announced that it would be imposing a lockdown for the unvaccinated, with Greece contemplating the same measure.

The meeting with scientists came hours after the cabinet decided to extend the booster shot to everyone over 18, once six months had passed from their vaccination.

After the meeting, Hadjipantelas and Tsioutis appeared before the media to highlight the importance of adhering to COVID protocols.

The minister said he had invited the contact tracing team members to brief the ministry and scientists on their findings.

The Health Ministry’s representative on the European Medicines Agency also gave updates on new medicines and treatments for COVID-19.

Hadjipantelas said the majority of scientists agreed that booster shots should gradually become available to the general population.

“The majority also said there should be no additional measures. However, we will keep an eye on the situation and will meet weekly to evaluate the data.”

To this end, the ministry will be stepping up its efforts to “encourage people to come forward for their first, second and third dose” of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Asked whether there was any thought of introducing stricter measures for the unvaccinated, Hadjipantelas said the experts had made no such proposal.

On Saturday, a mobile vaccination unit will be dispatched to Larnaca’s Europe Square to promote vaccinations in a district with the lowest jab rate.