COVID19: Most pandemic restrictions lifted

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Cyprus will abolish a large swathe of COVID-19 rules from Monday, including a mask mandate for outdoors, and a Safe Pass is no longer required for work or shopping.

Shoppers and people visiting public or private sectors services such as government offices and banks will no longer have to present a Safe Pass document.

Announcing the measures on Thursday, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela said that regulations regarding isolation for positive cases and close contacts would be tweaked.

Close contacts who have not been vaccinated will only have to stay in isolation for five days instead of seven. People with valid vaccination documents were already exempted from isolation.

People testing positive can exit their quarantine without a negative test on the seventh day.

Companies are advised but not obligated to keep 25% of their employees working from home.

Hadjipantelas said: “Today’s announcement of relaxing the measures must not be misinterpreted; Covid-19 is still here… Experts insist that Covid-19 is not a simple cold.”

Hadjipantela said the government’s message is clear.

“We trust science and urge citizens to follow suit. We continue to do the same.

“The new measures aim to improve the quality of our daily lives without jeopardising the gradual and complete lifting of restrictions,” said the minister.

Specifically, the government decided that from 11 April, the following measures come into effect:

  • A mask mandate for outdoor facilities will be lifted.
  • A Safe Pass requirement for work will be abolished, with the ministry recommending self-testing in case of symptoms.
  • Employees in nursing homes, closed structures, hospitals, medical centres, and health professionals must carry a Safe Pass.
  • Close contacts can be released on the fifth day instead of the seventh. However, they will be obliged to take a rapid test on the third and fifth day after coming in contact with a known case.
  • Positive cases will be released on the seventh day without needing a negative test; they can also be released on the fifth, provided they test negative with a PCR test.
  • The “test to stay” policy for close contacts has testing for five days instead of seven. The measure will be expanded to include extracurricular evening activities for students.
  • Shoppers and people visiting public and private sector services will no longer have to present a Safe Pass document. The same goes for museums and archaeological sites.
  • Cinemas and theatres can use their total capacity.
  • Private and public sector companies are advised to keep 25% of their staff working from home.
  • Hospital visits are allowed, provided that visitors carry a negative 24-hour rapid test. Only one person will be allowed to visit a patient at a time.
  • Camping sites can reopen on the provision that guests carry a Safe Pass.

From 18 April, a Safe Pass requirement will be lifted for all retail trade and shopping malls (excluding restaurants within shopping malls).

Children returning to school on 2 May, following their Easter break, will have to present a 48-hour Rapid Antigen Test. Students will only have to test once a week instead of twice.

From 15 April, the Health Ministry will announce new cases, deaths and hospitalisations once a week, scrapping the daily report.