To improve vaccination rates, those without a COVID-19 jab will be barred from entering hospitality, entertainment, or sports venues from next month, while booster shots will essentially become obligatory.
After seven months, people who have not had a booster shot will be regarded as unvaccinated as authorities will cancel their Safe Pass documents under new measures announced Wednesday.
Announcing the new measures to stem a resurgence of coronavirus, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas said that children over six are obliged to wear masks in public spaces.
“According to EU data, the higher the vaccination rate is in a country, the fewer deaths are recorded.
“Cyprus has the fourth-lowest death rate amongst EU member states.
“This is because we took timely measures in the past, preventing congestion at hospitals while not allowing ourselves to get to the point of deciding who would live and who would die,” said Hadjipantelas.
From 29 November, children between six and 11 will also need Safe Pass documents, which consists of proof of recovery from the virus in the past six months, or a negative PCR or rapid test not older than seven days.
Also, starting Monday, primary school children will be tested weekly until the Christmas break.
Christmas events at schools have been banned, while those planned by venues or businesses need special permission.
As of 15 December, anyone over the age of 12 will need to be vaccinated with at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine to gain entry to hospitality venues, cinemas, theatres, and sports facilities, both indoor and outdoor.
A digital Safe Pass document will also be mandatory for those between 14 and 64 starting 29 November.
People who need a third dose of a vaccine are given until 18 December to get one, or their Safe Pass will be valid.
Turning the screw even tighter on the unvaccinated adults over 18 would need a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours or a 48-hour negative rapid test.
Previously unvaccinated people could have a rapid test every 72 hours.
The minister also announced the introduction of self-tests starting 13 December, stressing that they will not be considered substitutes for the current testing system.
Self-tests will be free for the vaccinated from pharmacists with a prescription from their GP.
“Vaccination is our only weapon to return to normalcy.
“We are sure that our fellow citizens will respond. This can be deduced from the large number of citizens coming to the vaccination centres in recent days”.
So far, 84,690 people have received a booster shot.
- 29 November, all children over the age of 6 years must wear a mask in all areas where the use of a face covering is required
- 29 November, all people aged 6 – 11 years must present a Safe Pass.
- a) certificate of recovery from COVID in the last six months, or negative result from PCR or rapid antigen test no older than seven days. In addition, children can present written proof or an SMS sent by authorities.
- 29 November, all primary school students will be undergoing rapid antigen testing weekly, carried out by mobile units of the Ministry of Health. This measure will be in force until the schools close for Christmas.
- 29 November, all school Christmas celebrations are banned. Other organisations wanting to carry out Christmas events will need to obtain a permit from the Health Ministry.
- 29 November, businesses must electronically verify Safe Pass documents of all people aged over 14.
- 29 November, Free testing in areas severely affected by the virus, to everyone regardless of their vaccination status.
- 1 December, adults who have not completed their vaccination regimen must have a 72-hour PCR test or a 48-hour Rapid Antigen test for Safe Pass purposes.
- 13 December, all citizens will have the opportunity to conduct a self-test. Vaccinated people will be handed the test kits for free from pharmacies with a GP’s prescription. Unvaccinated people will have to pay for their test kits.
- 15 December, only people over 12 who have received at least one dose of the vaccine will be able to enter the following areas.
- 18 December, people who do not receive the booster dose of the vaccine after seven months from the completion of the initial vaccination will see their Safe Pass documents cancelled.
(i) indoor and outdoor stadiums
(ii) theatres, amphitheatres, cinemas, auditoriums
(iii) nightclubs, discos, music and dance venues, restaurants.