COVID19: All restrictions could be lifted after Easter

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As authorities contemplate lifting the remaining measures, Cyprus is on the path back to normality as it may put an end to all COVID restrictions after the Easter holidays.

Scientists advising the government on the coronavirus outbreak will meet Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela on Tuesday to present their take on the island’s road map to normality.

Suggestions tabled will be presented before the cabinet for approval on Wednesday.

In comments to Kathimerini Cyprus online edition, the government’s scientific advisor, Dr Peter Karayiannis, said he expected the hospitality sector to return to its pre-coronavirus routine.

This would mean no social distancing, the lifting of ceilings on customer capacity and the mask mandate at indoor facilities.

A Safe Pass document requirement to gain access to restaurants and cafes will be a thing of the past.

Karayiannis said that people working in outdoor facilities could drop their face masks while easing measures could also be introduced for nightclubs ahead of the summer.

He confirmed that he has already tabled lifting the above restrictions, with scientists set to discuss them with the minister.

Scientists will also suggest that a ceiling on home visits be lifted ahead of Greek Easter Sunday celebrations.

Another government advisor, virologist Dr Maria Koliou appeared to be more reserved about further relaxations, noting that she preferred to wait for the latest epidemiological report from the Health Ministry before rubber-stamping decisions.

Dr Koliou cautioned that removing all restrictions, such as the mask mandate, would jeopardise vulnerable people.

“The virus seems to be slowly entering an endemic phase.

“Therefore, we could reduce the number of tests, with only people who have symptoms being tested”.

Scientists are expected to detail a road map on handling the spread of the coronavirus in the summer months when the tourist season is in full swing.

Cyprus on Monday lifted the Safe Pass requirement for retail shops and malls while also scrapping the passenger locator form (flight pass) and colour-coded country risk assessment.

Presenting a Safe Pass document is only required for higher risk hospitality venues such as the indoor facilities of restaurants, cafes, and nightclubs.

After two years of travel rules, Cyprus no longer requires arrivals to complete a passenger locator form before boarding an aircraft. Countries will not be categorised by their COVID-risk level.