New Measures announcement by the Minister of Health, Mr. Constantinos Ioannou

As per Minister of Health’s announcement today here in Greek, which we have unofficially translated:

“The Council of Ministers has been informed of the epidemiological data as they have been in Cyprus in recent weeks following the recent decisions on partial de-escalation of restrictive measures. According to the latest data, epidemiological indicators are stabilising, but remain at unsafe limits. The situation in hospitals is controlled, but extremely difficult and reversible.

The Council of Ministers reaffirmed the decision that the strategy of de-escalation should continue with slow steps that will allow us to get out of the health crisis safely without cancelling the long-term efforts of society and endangering Public Health.

Taking into account the above, in conjunction with the need for psychological support for citizens, on the basis of the recommendations of the Advisory Scientific Committee, the Council of Ministers decided:

  1. Reopening on April 2nd with the physical presence of the students of the Municipal Schools of Limassol Province and the Gymnasiums of Cyprus, with the presentation of a negative rapid detection of antigen of test.
  2. Increase the maximum number of people allowed, regardless of age, in private educational institutes and private institutes to seven (7) persons, including the instructor (6 students plus 1 instructor). It is understood that their operation is governed by the guidelines and the health protocol of the Ministries of Health and Education.
  3. Following a consultation to be held between representatives of the Ministries of Education and Health and the Scientific Advisory Committee with the organised bodies, a programme will be drawn up in the next period to carry out a rapid antigen screening test on pupils in the second cycle of Primary Schools (4th, 5th and 6th grade).
  4. Individual sports/championships may be held in outdoor sports facilities, in accordance with the guidelines of the Cyprus Sports Organisation (CSO)and the Ministry of Health (e.g. shooting, athletics, cycling, etc.).
  5. Increase of the existing number of people in swimming pools and gyms, on the basis of the CSO protocol and the Ministry of Health.
  6. Customers may be present and remain outdoors in gambling and betting businesses, provided that the service is carried out exclusively in table seats and on the basis of protocol.
  7. Increase in the number of text messages per citizen to three (3) for transport purposes only for Saturday and Sunday. It is stressed that on other days, two (2) text messages may be sent.

The above measures, which will be regulated by Decree, enter into force from 1 April to 30 April. The Cabinet will meet in the week before Holy Week to assess the epidemiological picture for any adjustments to the measures that will be in place ahead of Easter.

The epidemiological picture of Cyprus allows us to proceed with at least a few de-escalation steps. We are working non-stop to improve epidemiological performance so that we can remove even more restrictions.

The strategy of targeted population tests on workers, the student population and other groups, offers us the ability to act in real time and detect infections, trace contacts and limit the spread of the virus. This tactic is particularly important because of the mutations that make the virus much more aggressive, hence it is now adopted by other European countries as part of their strategy to restart.

In addition, with the vaccination weapon at our disposal, we are accelerating the rate of vaccination coverage for citizens with the aim of increasing the rate of shielding of the population as soon as possible. Vaccination is a national project to which we are called upon to respond successfully. On the basis of the flow of vaccines received by Cyprus, vaccination continues, with emphasis on vaccination of vulnerable groups and the general population with an age criterion. The protection offered by vaccination is now evident, as cases in nursing homes and the elderly have been reduced to a minimum for weeks, as well as admissions to hospitals for people over 70 years of age. At the same time, what is noted is a reduction in the severely ill, since in most cases when symptoms manifest themselves, they are very mild.

At the same time, care is also needed when it comes to compliance with health protocols and personal protection measures. Once again I thank all the citizens for their effort and cooperation. We are at a focal point that will judge a lot about continuity and complacency or relaxation can lead to a deterioration of the epidemiological picture. Compliance with measures, tests and vaccinations is the triptych that will lead us closer to the end of this great challenge”.

We will update you with any additional information.