Guidelines on Management of COVID-19 cases and their close contacts

The Press and Information Office has placed renewed guidelines on the management of COVID-19 cases and close contacts as follows: 

  1. Managing Positive COVID-19 cases

 Upon announcement of a positive result after rapid antigen test or PCR test (molecular test), the COVID-19 positive person must: 

  • immediately place him/herself in self-isolation,
  • inform their  personal physician,
  • inform his/her close contacts, the employer, the school, the military camp, etc.,
  • leave the self-isolation only after the days provided by the release protocol have passed and after receiving the release SMS.

It is forbidden to travel by any means of public transport (bus, taxi, plane and ship) for reasons of dispersal prevention. Positive cases that have a planned trip are not allowed to carry this out before their official release by their Personal Doctor or the release team of the Ministry of Health.

 For citizens or tourists staying in hotels and for people who cannot observe the isolation in their home there is a provision of free state-quarantine and their transportation by means provided by the Ministry of Health. If they do not wish to be accommodated in the state quarantine, these individuals can choose to rent a private accommodation (apartment, house, villa) at their own expense and be transported by private vehicle to spend their self-isolation period there, after consultation with the Unit for Epidemiological Surveillance and Control of Infectious Diseases (UES&CID) but cannot for any reason continue to stay in their original hotel residence. 

It should be noted that the results from the sampling points of the rapid test are notified to the Unit for Epidemiological Surveillance and Control of Infectious Diseases after the completion of the tests and within 24 hours the people with a positive result receive a text message (SMS) with the Instructions for self-isolation for confirmed COVID19 cases on the mobile phone stated during the examination. The COVID-19-positive person should follow the self-isolation instructions (currently available in Greek here) he or she receives. In case the person is a minor, the guardian’s mobile phone should be declared and not the child’s. 

In the same SMS, the COVID-19 positive person receives passwords and a link to confirm his details, declare his contacts and his/her personal physician so that he can monitor and release him/her and who has the ability to issue the necessary certificates of release when the quarantine period is completed. 

The social and family contacts of the case are declared immediately through the electronic platform, after they are declared from the positive case and then they receive self-isolation instructions and their testing is planned by the coordinating team of the Public Health Clinics. 

In the instructions received by the positive incident there is a relevant table where the case can declare additional close contacts after completing the online form and send them by email to contacttracing@moh.gov.cy.

 The Personal Doctor is responsible for monitoring the health of his patients / beneficiaries and the release of confirmed cases, according to the release protocol and not earlier than 10 days from the diagnosis or the onset of symptoms.

 Individuals who do not have a Personal Doctor are released by the Release Team of the Unit for Epidemiological Surveillance and Control of Infectious Diseases. Upon their release, all cases receive a text message indicating the release date which can be used for Safe Pass (See clarification for SMS in Greek here ) purposes.

 At the same time as their release (10 days after the positive result), people who were COVID-19 positive can issue a European Digital Recovery Certificate to travel within the European Union through the portal https://www.eudcc.gov.cy/ .

 Sick leave is provided by the Personal Physician. 

All the data collected by the Unit for Epidemiological Surveillance and Control of Infectious Diseases is used exclusively to identify the source of infection of the positive case, to locate its contacts and to understand the behavior of the virus.

 For general information, positive cases can call 1474 (Monday to Sunday 08: 00-20: 00), while for a report of worsening symptoms, medical assessment or need to be transported to a hospital can call 1420 24 hours a day. 

If a person has been diagnosed positive for coronavirus and has not received a written instruction message within 24 hours they should contact the laboratory or the individual who took the test and make sure that their test is positive and that the contact details the lab maintains are  correct (e.g. wrong phone number). 

It is understood that if the positive results are not declared by the laboratory or the person who performed the examination at the Ministry of Health, the positive incident will not be able to receive the required instructions, to monitor the course of his health, to declare his contacts, but also to receive all the supporting documents he is entitled to upon his release (e.g. SafePass, EU Digital Covid Certificate). 

For release issues, positive cases can contact the Release Team at covidfollowup@moh.gov.cy or at 22605306. 

Cases with a positive coronavirus test, who have completed their vaccination or have recovered within  the last 6 months, follow the procedure normally and are not exempt from self-isolation. 

Antibody tests and self-test results are not acceptable positive incident diagnostic methodologies. 

  1. Managing close-case contacts:

Close contacts are defined by specific criteria according to the following: 

  • Person living with a confirmed case
  • Person who had direct physical contact with a confirmed case (e.g. handshake)
  • A person who has had unprotected contact with confirmed infectious secretions (e.g. saliva)
  • Person who had face-to-face contact with a confirmed case at a distance of less than 2 meters and lasting more than 15 minutes
  • Person found indoors (e.g. classroom, cinema, hospital lounges, etc. with a confirmed case for more than 15 minutes and at a distance of less than 2 meters)
  • A healthcare professional or other person providing health care in a COVID-19 case or laboratory staff handling a confirmed case sample without using the appropriate protective equipment or if there is a breach in the sample’s physical integrity.
  • Co-travelers, persons travelling with/taking care of the patient, flight attendants who serviced the relevant section of the airplane where the patient was seated (probably all passengers in the specific plane section area and even all passengers on the flight if due to the seriousness of the passengers’ symptoms and his/her movement within the plane there was increased exposure.

Upon notification of the positive incident, the case is asked to state the contacts he had two days before the onset of symptoms or two days before the test (in case of asymptomatic cases). This data is collected and managed in accordance with the principles of confidentiality and is used only for the purpose of tracking and ensuring Public Health upon the approval of the Commissioner for Personal Data Protection. 

Close contacts undergo a free molecular examination (PCRtest) after making an appointment at the Public Health Clinics, which is scheduled as soon as possible and at the same time receive instructions (here in Greek) for close contacts via text message for self-isolation. Close contacts are subject to mandatory self-isolation for 14 days from their last contact with the case (contact day is defined as day zero). 

Close contacts can be released earlier ONLY by negative PCR on day 7 from any approved laboratory at their own expense. 

Release on day 7 with negative PCR is valid only for close contacts and not for positive cases. 

If close contacts are not isolated from the positive case (e.g. mothers with children, or dependents with their caregivers), then the day of onset of isolation is extended according to the day of release of the positive case, as until the  last day before release the positive person is potentially contagious. 

Close contacts are not released by their Personal Physician, but voluntarily at the end of the days described above. Individuals who have been declared as close contacts are entitled to a special leave certificate (see attached in Greek- αιτημα για εκδοση Ιατρικου Πιστoποιητικού) for Public Health reasons so  they can submit it to their work and be reimbursed by the Department of Social Security through an application. In order to receive this certificate, one must have declared the confirmed case as a close contact. If it has not been declared as close contact, the person is not entitled to the special leave certificate. 

Tracing and reporting close contacts within workplaces, nursing homes, homes for the elderly, military bases and detention centers for migrants and refugees is the responsibility of employers or health and security officers or local tracing teams where available and who will send the contacts of the cases to the Tracing Team of the Ministry of Health at contacttracing@moh.com.cy. For the public educational institutions, the local committees in each school are responsible for locating and sending the close contacts as defined by a relevant circular of the Ministry of Education. 

It is understood that close contacts are not allowed to visit the rapid test sampling points, as there is a risk of the virus spreading to other attendees and they will have to wait for information from the Public Health Clinics to schedule an appointment. 

Exempt from self-isolations as close contacts are persons who: 

  • have been diagnosed as positive cases by PCR or rapid antigen test within the previous 180 days, or
  • have completed their vaccination schedule with any vaccine recognized by the Republic of Cyprus. It is understood that for single-dose vaccines a period of 14 days must elapse after the dose.

However, all close contacts (including those who are excluded from self-isolation above) should be reported by the case via the appropriate route, in order to schedule their sample testing by the Public Health Clinic Coordination team. 

Any citizen who develops symptoms compatible with COVID-19 disease (cough, fever, shortness of breath, sudden onset of lack of smell, taste or indigestion, headache, myalgias, chills, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea) should contact their personal physician for evaluation and programing of  PCR (molecular examination) testing at the Public Health Clinics, if deemed necessary. 

No citizen should visit his / her work or student / teacher at his / her school with active symptoms even if he / she has a negative coronavirus rapid antigen test. 

For issues related to the tracking process, instructions on how to declare close contacts, who are considered close contacts, when self-isolation is lifted, one can contact by phone at: 22771923, 22514264, 22514258, 22514259 or email contacttracing2@moh.gov .cy (Monday to Sunday 08: 00-00: 00). 

For instructions on completing the online form, if the positive incident received the link and password, one can contact by phone at: 22514241, 22514242, 22514243, 22514244 and 22514248 (Monday to Sunday 08: 00-00: 00). 

The obligations of employers are in the current protocol Here in Greek and can contact the health services of the Ministry of Health for clarifications. 

For complaints of violations related to the self-isolation of cases or close contacts (See police announcement in Greek here) , citizens can call 1460, 22606803, 22606789. 

More information on Decrees and Protocols can be found at www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/. 

The full press releases can be accessed here.

AVAILABLE FORMS:

Δήλωση επαφών κρούσματος – Reporting of COVID19 Case Contacts

Αίτημα για έκδοση Ιατρικού Πιστοποιητικού για λόγους Δημόσιας Υγείας

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