COVID19: Infection rate falls, lower daily cases

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The COVID transmission rate in Cyprus has dropped to 0.6%, while the daily number of cases is low and hospital admissions have decreased, said Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela.

He said the improved COVID landscape has allowed the government to lift safe pass measures and other restrictions.

Hadjipantela reassures that although his ministry no longer announces daily case numbers, it does receive daily updates that suggest the situation is contained.

He said the measures have been suspended and not abolished, and if the self-protection measures are not observed, there is a possibility the good epidemiological outlook recorded will end.

A new mutation could change the plans and bring back the need to reintroduce measures.

Hadjipantela also said there was a significant drop in hospitalisations to 130 people treated for COVID-19.

There will be no testing sites with the suspension of the Safe Pass measure.

Instead, everyone will have to go to pharmacies or clinical laboratories for a rapid or PCR test regardless of their vaccination history.

Free tests will still be available for close contacts, and the ‘test-to-stay’ measure will be suspended in schools but not in hospitals.

The Ministry of Defence will decide whether to keep the policy.

On the lockdown in Shanghai and whether the Ministry of Health was worried, he said there was a concern.

“It is a situation that we must constantly monitor, and if there is any new mutation that should concern us, we will take immediate action,” said Hadjipantela.

Regarding the operation of clinics and wards in public hospitals, he said they are gradually returning to normal, as are surgeries.

Cyprus is also further winding down the compulsory use of facemasks outdoors and COVID-19 vaccination certificates.

Safe passes will no longer be required to enter most venues from May 15 and are not required for outdoor hospitality during Easter.

However, citizens will still need to prove they are vaccinated or have recovered from infection to enter nightclubs, music halls, clinics, hospitals, and nursing homes.

Obligatory mask-wearing in outdoor bars and restaurant areas ends on Friday, while children aged 12 and under won’t have to wear masks starting on May 15.

Most capacity limits for nightclubs and restaurants will also be lifted next month.