COVID19: Some measures to be lifted next week

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The government is preparing a roadmap to relax COVID-19 measures from next week, with the first easing of restrictions for hospitality.

Reportedly, the Health Ministry is going through scenarios to relax measures, encouraged by the fact that a wave of infections powered by Omicron has not increased undue pressure on the health system.

Recommendations will be presented next Tuesday to the members of the COVID scientific committee.

Once receiving scientists’ feedback, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas will table the final draft before the Council of Ministers for approval next Wednesday.

Hadjipantelas confirmed that scientists would be reviewing epidemiological data ahead of possible relaxations.

“The epidemiologists unanimously agreed that a relaxation of measures will be considered at the next meeting of the Scientific Advisory Committee on 1 February.”

He added the measures already discussed, including allowing children between 12 and 17 who are not vaccinated to enter cafes or restaurants with a rapid test.

He revealed that authorities would also consider increasing the number of guests allowed at weddings and baptisms and lifting a ban on dancing at venues and nightclubs.

“Any relaxations will depend on the number of daily cases but also the number of hospital admissions.”

A test-to-stay policy, currently introduced at schools, will be expanded to the emergency services and healthcare staff.

The test-to-stay policy, to avoid quarantine, has been introduced at schools to keep students reported as close contacts in their classrooms by testing daily for a week.

This applies to all children reported as close contacts, with unvaccinated children having the option to self-isolate instead of getting tested.

Daily cases in recent weeks have remained stubbornly high, powered by the Omicron variant.

However, hospital admissions have not followed suit, as Omicron has proven to cause less severe disease.

On Thursday, 2,536 cases were reported, with no deaths, taking the total to 246,354 and 724 deaths.