As per Ministry of Health Announcement, in a recent report (29 December 2020), the European Center for Infection Control and Prevention (ECDC) recorded data to date on the new strain of SARS-CoV-2 virus, VOC 202012/01, which was first detected in the United Kingdom on at the end of September 2020 and has been associated with higher viral load, faster spread and higher transmissibility of up to 70%. Having now been identified in various European countries, the new strain of the virus is thought to have contributed to some extent to the increase in cases and, consequently, to the increase in hospitalizations in Europe.
In this context, the ECDC recommends that States further strengthen and intensify laboratory tests on people traveling from the United Kingdom. Further, the recommendations focus on avoiding travel, noting that if travel cannot be avoided, these individuals should remain confined for a period of 10 days.
In accordance with the instructions of the ECDC, what has been expected is the completion of the specialized examinations carried out by the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics in samples of individuals who have been positively diagnosed with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, in order to evaluate the existence of this mutant strain in Cyprus. Therefore, the Ministry of Health informs the citizens that the Decree of the Minister of Health, dated 21 December 2020 here in Greek, which provides for compulsory quarantine in hotels of the Republic for people arriving from the United Kingdom for a period of 7 days, is renewed until 10 January 2021.
The MoH reminds us that persons arriving from the United Kingdom undergo a laboratory test upon arrival at Larnaca and Paphos Airports, and are transported at state expense to hotels in the Republic for a mandatory 7-day limitation. On the 7th day after their arrival, they undergo a laboratory test again and in case of a negative result, they continue to restrict themselves at home for a period of 3 additional days (total number of days of mandatory isolation: 10 days). In cases of a positive result in the laboratory test either on arrival or on the 7th day, the COVID-19 case management health protocol is applied.
The above obligation excludes persons under the age of 18, who, however, may remain in compulsory isolation in hotels if their parents and / or guardians reside in the same premises or if for any reason it is not possible for them to stay in a self-isolation regime in their home and always with the written consent of the parent and / or guardian.
The original communique in Greek can be found here.