COVID19: Test-to-stay for police, hospitals

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After launching test-to-stay at schools, the government is considering expanding the COVID-19 policy for close contacts in the emergency services and hospitals.

As reported by the Cyprus News Agency, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas on Wednesday will table a proposal before the cabinet to extend the policy to the police force and fire department and healthcare institutions.

Hadjipantelas was to meet epidemiologists advising the government on COVID-19, from whom he would request feedback on the ministry’s intentions.

The test-to-stay policy has been introduced at schools to keep students reported as close contacts in their classrooms while keeping them safe by testing them daily.

The policy applies only to students identified as close contacts of a confirmed positive coronavirus case and who have not completed their vaccination regime.

Those vaccinated or those recovered from Covid-19 within 90 days do not have to self-isolate.

Adherence to the measure is optional.

Reportedly, the Health Ministry and experts are considering introducing weekly rapid testing for children at kindergartens and pre-schools on an optional basis.

Meanwhile, epidemiologists will suggest that people reported as close contacts can be released from isolation after seven days provided they test negative with a rapid test instead of a PCR which is the current requirement.

The government could also lift the ban on dancing at nightclubs, weddings, and christenings imposed just days before New Year’s Eve.

But the Health Ministry is not inclined towards lifting any restrictions on unvaccinated people, who are currently barred from entering hospitality and entertainment venues.

Scientists will also discuss a fourth jab for vulnerable groups and people who are immunosuppressed.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry said Tuesday that three positive results were traced during tests to stay in schools. A total of 378 pupils were tested islandwide.