COVID19: Hospitality ban on unjabbed teenagers lifted

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Cyprus on Wednesday eased restrictions on unvaccinated teenagers while tightening checks at nursing homes; no other measures were lifted as cases are on the rise.

The cabinet announced Wednesday it would be lifting a ban on unvaccinated teenagers aged 12 to 17 from entering hospitality venues.

They will now be allowed in cafes, restaurants, and entertainment venues such as cinemas and theatres, provided they present a negative PCR or rapid test not older than 72 hours.

They will also have to be accompanied by a guardian who has completed their vaccination scheme.

In recent days, the high number of cases found at nursing homes has forced authorities to introduce frequent testing for employees.

As of Thursday, vaccinated employees will have to get tested every 72 hours, while unvaccinated employees must test every 24 hours.

Following consultations with the army’s leadership, the cabinet also extended a test-to-stay policy to the National Guard.

Last week, the government introduced the measure to the Police, the Fire Department, and hospitals, but it has not started.

Implementation for emergency services and hospitals will be announced after consultation with the competent ministries and services.

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

Currently, students reported to be close contacts have to get tested in the morning before class for six days.

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

The government has also reduced the waiting period for a booster shot from five and a half months to five.

The government mulled relaxing restrictions on nightclubs and social events, allowing for dancing and larger crowds.

But a rise in cases among the community and nursing homes has discouraged authorities from lifting measures.

Recommendations tabled by government advisors on the coronavirus outbreak and epidemiological data were considered.

According to the data of the Epidemiological Surveillance Unit of the Ministry of Health from 22-28 January, 15,494 positive cases were recorded within the community, and an increase in daily cases was recorded in all age groups, except for 50-69.

Cyprus on Tuesday reported another 3,038 new COVID-19 cases and one death, taking the total to 259,784 and 734 deaths.

A week ago, there were 2,546 daily cases, with a total of 241,319 and 716 dead.