COVID19: Face masks indoors to go on 1 June

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Wearing a face mask in Cyprus will soon be a thing of the past, as most government scientists have urged authorities to suspend the COVID-19 mandate for indoor facilities from next week.

According to the Health Ministry, the majority of the government’s advisors on COVID favour lifting the requirement to wear face masks indoors, except in high-risk areas such as hospitals and closed institutions.

In comments to the Cyprus News Agency, the ministry’s spokesperson Konstantinos Athanasiou said that scientists insisted on keeping the mandate for hospitals and nursing homes.

Scientists gave their recommendations at the request of Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela.

Athanasiou said some scientists were reluctant to propose scrapping the face mask mandate because the situation is still fluid, and no one knows what course the pandemic may take.

Bust, most scientists said that they prefer the rule on face coverings indoors to be temporarily suspended rather than lifted altogether.

The final decision will be taken when Hadjipantela returns from a trip abroad.

He will review the recommendations and table the ministry’s proposal before the cabinet on Friday.

With the exemption of children under 12, everyone is obliged to wear a mask at indoor facilities, including airports.

Mask-wearing on flights and at Cyprus airports is still mandatory despite European Union guidelines ending the need for face-covering during air travel.

Cyprus’ COVID-19 deaths and infections have slowed. Health authorities last week reported 2,103 cases, about 300 less than the week before, and six deaths.

Hospitalisations dropped from 45 to 42, critical cases increased from six to nine, while intubated patients were up by two to four.

Total SARS-CoV-2 infections since March 2020 rose to 488,189, while 1,057 deaths have been reported.