Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas meeting members of the Scientific Advisory Committee for coronavirus

COVID19: More measures at airports, work from home

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Cyprus introduced new measures to restrict the coronavirus spread as daily cases soared to an unprecedented 3,002 on Wednesday, including further controls at airports, a higher rate of people to work from home, banning unvaccinated from venues and masks to be worn at all public areas, indoor or outdoor.

Fearing protests from fans, attendance at sporting events was mildly reduced from 75% to 50%, while universities will return to online learning.

In statements after the extraordinary cabinet meeting, following consultation with the government’s scientific advisors, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas said people were not maintaining personal health protection, while “tens of venues and businesses are ignoring health protocols, allowing for increased crowds at the specific enterprises.”

“Epidemiological indicators have been rapidly deteriorating in recent days, with the possibility of an increase in patient admissions to public hospitals in the coming days,” Hadjipantelas said.

“The positivity rate exceeds 2.5% and specifically in the last three days, 7,168 positive cases were recorded. The Omicron variant is firmly in the community and is expected to further burden our epidemiological situation,” the minister said.

He said that the measures will be reviewed on Tuesday, January 4.


The measures

The cabinet decided the following measures will be effective from Thursday, December 30, unless otherwise stated:

a) From January 4 to 15, all passengers must secure a PCR test 48 hours prior to departure, and submitted to a new PCR upon arrival, at their own cost (€15).

b) From January 3, work-from-home increased from 20% to 40% of staff at companies and service providers. Some essential services will be exempt.

c) Access to entertainment venues, clubs, receptions for weddings and christenings will be allowed only to vaccinated people who must also provide a 24-hour rapid test. Those with the booster or third jab are exempt.

d) A cap of 300 people is set at restaurants and clubs, or less, depending on the protocols determining people per square meter. Guests must be seated and dancing is prohibited.

Wedding and christening venues will implement this rule later, as of January 3.

e) Fan attendance at sports venues is reduced to 50% of seating capacity and masks are mandatory. If these measures are not adhered to, local authorities may revoke a sports venue’s operating license.

f) Visits are banned at all state and private hospitals, and restricted institutions, unless approved by the management and with a 24-hour PCR test, and only for emergencies or exceptional cases. Patients and their companions visiting out-patient clinics need a 24-hour rapid test. Those with the booster or third jab are exempt.

g) For health professionals who are unvaccinated or 7 months have passed from completing their vaccination but have yet to get a booster shot, close contacts must be subject to a PCR test on the fifth day and a rapid test on the sixth day to be released from isolation. Positive cases need a negative rapid test result on the sixth and seventh days to be released on the eighth day, if no symptoms persist withing the last 48 hours.

The cabinet also decided:

– the use of double surgical or high protection masks (eg. KN95 or FFP2);

– avoidance of cloth masks;

– online learning in universities.