COVID19: Ministry raises alarm before Christmas

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Health authorities are concerned over the impact of an increase in new COVID-19 cases during Christmas gatherings, combined with other viruses affecting the respiratory system.

In a meeting on Monday with Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela, health experts advising the government on handling the COVID pandemic suggested measures, including stepping up vaccinations for COVID-19.

Following a suggestion by the team of advisors, guidelines will be sent to the public on how to protect themselves against circulating viruses ahead of the Christmas holidays.

“At the same time, the Ministry of Health will intensify its actions to increase the vaccination coverage of the population against COVID-19 and especially to increase vaccinations with a booster dose, given the importance it has for strengthening the immunity of vulnerable groups,” the ministry said.

The ministry confirmed it has no plans of re-introducing COVID restrictions over the festive season.

Cypriots can celebrate Christmas and New Year without COVID-19 restrictions for the first time since the outbreak in March 2020.

The ministry will instead issue some recommendations ahead of Christmas.

The use of face masks and presentation of a negative Covid test remain obligatory in hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities treating vulnerable people.

In last week’s epidemiological report, Cyprus reported six COVID-19 deaths and a drop in new infections, raising the death toll since the pandemic to 1,250.

New cases continued to drop for the fourth consecutive week, down slightly to 3,460 from 3,854 the week before.

Some 77 people were in hospital, of which nine were in a more serious condition. Two were intubated.

Coronavirus infections since the pandemic rose to 625,562.