COVID19: Many restrictions now removed

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Cyprus has eased most of its COVID-19 restrictions from Monday with a mask mandate for outdoor facilities scrapped, while a Safe Pass is no longer required for work or shopping.

People wanting to enjoy time at outdoor facilities, such as coffee shops and restaurants, are no longer required to wear a face mask while moving around.

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

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

Furthermore, 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.

Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas said the government is lifting restrictions on health experts’ advice but warned the pandemic is not over.

“Relaxing the measures must not be misinterpreted; Covid-19 is still here… Moreover, experts insist that Covid-19 is not a simple cold.”

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

A Safe Pass requirement for work is 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 days 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 covers testing for five days instead of seven. In addition, 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. However, a Safe Pass document is still required to gain access.

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.

Next week will see the abolishment of a Safe Pass requirement for all retail trade and shopping malls (excluding restaurants within shopping malls).

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