COVID19: Cyprus to ditch face masks indoors

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In the coming days, Cyprus could lift a mask mandate for indoors after Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela asked advisors to deliver their recommendation for when the measure can be scrapped.

According to the Cyprus News Agency, the majority of scientists advising the government on the coronavirus outbreak favour lifting the compulsory mask mandate after two years of being in effect. It is no longer required for outdoor public spaces.

Health Ministry spokesperson Konstantinos Athanasiou told CNA that Hadjipantela has already asked scientists to review epidemiological data and submit their suggestions on moving forward.

“Scientists were given until Tuesday to deliver their recommendations.

“They have been asked to present their take on whether the use of masks at indoor facilities can be abolished altogether,” said Athanasiou.

He noted that the Ministry of Health recommendations show that most scientists favour the suspension of obligatory mask-wearing indoors, excluding high-risk areas, such as hospitals, nursing homes, refugee reception centres, and prisons.

However, some scientists have argued against such a move, noting the COVID situation is still volatile, with a new variant possibly around the corner.

A large part of the global scientific community is concerned as they expect a new coronavirus strain to appear before September.

Meanwhile, Omicron’s subvariants, BA2, BA4 and BA5, are still circulating among the community.

The suggestions from the Advisory Scientific Committee are expected by Tuesday noon.

The Ministry will then review them, with Hadjipantela tabling the recommendations before the Cabinet.