Updated instructions for managing COVID-19 cases and their close contact, 10/01/2022

The Ministry of Health has issued updated instructions on how to manage COVID 19 cases and their close contacts here.

The Full instructions documents in Greek Οδηγίες για στενές επαφές κρούσματος COVID19 8.1.2022 and English 08012022_instructionsforself-isolatingathome_EN here.

1. POSITIVE INCIDENT MANAGEMENT: 

Upon announcement of a positive result after Rapid antigen test or PCR test (molecular test), the COVID19 positive person must: 

  • immediately place him/herself in self-isolation,
  • inform his/her Personal Physician,
  • inform his close contacts, the employer, the school, the military camp, etc.,
  • leave the self-isolation only after the days provided by the release protocol, and upon 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 incidents that have a planned trip are not allowed to travel 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 remain in isolation in their home there is a provision of free state isolation and their transfer by means provided by the Ministry of Health. If they do not wish to be accommodated in the state isolation location, 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 (UESC), but for no reason can they continue to stay in a hotel. 

It should be noted that the results from the sampling centres of the rapid test are notified to 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 Self-isolation Instructions for confirmed COVID19 cases on the cell phone stated during their examination. The COVID-positive person should follow the self-isolation instructions he or she receives. In case the person is a minor, the guardian’s cell phone should be declared and not the child’s. 

Within the same SMS, the positive case receives passwords and a link to confirm his details, to state his contacts and his Personal Physician so that he can monitor and release him and can issue the necessary certificates of release when his/her quarantine is completed. The social and family contacts of the case are submitted immediately through the electronic platform, after they are declared by the positive case and then they receive self-isolation instructions, and their testing is planned by the coordination 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 Physician 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 Unit for Epidemiological Surveillance and Control of Infectious Diseases (UESC),. Upon release, all cases receive a text message indicating the release date which can be used for Safe Pass purposes. 

In parallel with their release (10 days after the positive result), people who were positive for the coronavirus can be issued with a European Digital Recovery Certificate to travel within the European Union through the portal https://www.eudcc.gov.cy/ . 

Sick leave is given by the Personal Physician. 

All the data collected by UESC 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 for the 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 tested them and make sure that a positive result has been declared and that the contact details that the lab maintains is 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 progress of his health, to declare his contacts, but also to receive all the supporting documents he is entitled to upon his release (e.g. Safe Pass, EU Digital Covid Certificate). 

For release issues, positive cases can be contacted by 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 for more than 3 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. 

MANAGING CLOSE CASE CONTACTS 

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

  • A person who lives with a confirmed case
  • A person who has had direct physical contact with a confirmed case (e.g., handshake)
  • A Person that had unprotected contact with confirmed infectious secretions (e.g., saliva)
  • A 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
  • A 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 personnel handling a confirmed case sample without using the appropriate protective equipment or if there is a breach in its integrity.
  • Flight attendant, traveling together or caring for the incident case, crew members serving the patient’s airplane compartment, (possibly all passengers seated in the same airplane section and all passengers who could be considered close contacts if due to the presence of severe symptoms of the patient and movements of the patient in the aircraft this has meant more extensive exposure)

It is emphasized that:

The close contact within educational establishments is determined by a relevant circular of the Ministry of Education and Science and it is the responsibility of the School Management to declare the close contacts.

Close contact within the workplace is stated by the Safety and Health Manager of the company.

For Nursing staff, the instructions for returning to work may be different and subject to conditions set by the Infection Committee of the Hospital.

 

WHAT APPLIES ON A CASE-BY-CASE BASIS IN CLOSE CONTACTS? 

• Has received Booster dose, effective from the same day as the booster dose:

He/She is not obliged to isolate, provided that the Personal Protection Measures are observed (mask, hand hygiene, keeping distance from other people, reduction of contacts, self-control for symptoms). Recommendation for * free Rapid Antigen Test on the 3rd and 5th day of contact through the tracking process. 

• Complete vaccination with any vaccine recognized by the Republic of Cyprus (2 doses of vaccine or 1 dose of single-dose vaccine + 14 days) and has not passed the period of 7 months from the last dose:

He/She is not obliged to isolate, provided that the Personal Protection Measures are observed (mask, hand hygiene, keeping distance from other people, reduction of contacts, self-control for symptoms). Mandatory free * Rapid Antigen Test on the 3rd and 5th day of contact through the tracking process. Recommendation for PCR on the seventh day after contact. 

•         Individuals previously diagnosed / diagnosed as positive cases by PCR or Rapid Antigen Test and not more than 90 days have elapsed since their release:

He/She is not obliged to isolate, provided that the Personal Protection Measures are observed (mask, hand hygiene, keeping distance from other people, reduction of contacts, self-control for symptoms). Mandatory free * Rapid Antigen Test on the 3rd and 5th day of contact through the tracking process. Recommendation for PCR on the seventh day after contact. 

•         Complete vaccination with any vaccine recognized by the Republic of Cyprus (2 doses of vaccine or 1 dose of single-dose vaccine + 14 days) but the period of 7 months has passed from the last dose:

He/She is obliged to isolate for 14 days from contact with a confirmed case. Release earlier than 14 days can be done by PCR test (with negative result) on the 7th day after contact or later at a cost paid by the interested party. Mandatory free * Rapid Antigen Test on the 3rd and 5th day of contact through the tracking process 

•                     People without a history of vaccination or disease or without having completed their vaccination regimen (eg only one dose of a double-dose vaccine):

He/She is obliged to isolate for 14 days from contact with a confirmed case. Release earlier than 14 days can be done by PCR test (with negative result) on the 7th day after contact or later at a cost paid by the interested party. Mandatory free * Rapid Antigen Test on the 3rd and 5th day of contact through the tracking process. 

* The scheduling for free rapid test on the 3rd and 5th day of the contact is scheduled by the Ministry of Health and the interested party is informed by phone SMS about the place and time of sampling, at predetermined points to be notified. At these points they should display the SMS that states that they are a close contact and give the code that is sent to them along with identification (identity card, passport, or ARC). A necessary condition so that the close contact receives the SMS with the appointment is that the positive case has declared his/her contact through the electronic platform or the table that he/she received during his/her positive identification. It is noted that if the 3rd day of the contact has passed, only the 5th day test will be scheduled, while if the 5th day has passed, then no appointment will be scheduled, and the contact will have to be examined through another route at their own expense.

For children under 6 years old, a free PCR test will be scheduled by telephone appointment by the Coordination of Public Health Clinics in their province of residence. 

To verify the above, the Cyprus police may request vaccination certificates or release certificates. 

For all the above categories of close contacts it means that when they show symptoms compatible with COVID-19 they should contact their Personal Physician for evaluation and scheduling a free PCR test through the Public Health Clinics. 

For close contacts that have been identified as contacts of a concern variant (e.g., “micron” variant or other) the instructions may be modified. In such a case, they will be informed by telephone by a government official of any differences in procedures. 

Those who are obliged to self-isolate can remain so in their place of residence as defined below. In case the following is not possible, there is a quarantine provision – at an additional cost covered by the interested party – in an appropriate quarantine hotel and can be arranged by phone at 22691345 (This cost is fully covered by the Ministry of Tourism if the narrow contact was a passenger on a plane and was called for instructions by an official of the Ministry of Health). In any case, self-isolation in any hotel beyond the appropriate is prohibited due to the risk of dispersion. Private accommodation should be arranged, or close contact transferred to the appropriate hotel.

 

ISOLATION INSTRUCTIONS AT HOME 

1.    Ideally, the person should be living alone at home. If this is not possible, the suspected case is isolated in a room, which the other members will not use under any circumstances. If there are other suspicious or confirmed cases in the house, they should be isolated separately from each other.

2.    The room in which the suspected case resides should be well ventilated.

3.    You are not allowed to leave the house.

4.    Self-isolation at home may be monitored by either on-site or telephone checks. Persons under house isolation are required to comply with the decree. In case of non-compliance, they will be criminally liable.

5.    Visits are not allowed.

6.    The use of separate household utensils is recommended. If this is not possible, then disinfect before and after each use with a common detergent or soap, rinse and dry.

7.    The use of a separate bathroom and toilet is recommended. If this is not possible, then disinfect according to the instructions of the health services (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/pdf/4_3.pdf ).

8.    If there is a planned trip before the release, it is NOT allowed. An exception can be made in case the permanent residence is outside Cyprus, always in consultation with the Epidemiological Surveillance Unit for information and instructions, with the necessary negative PCR test sampled less than 48 hours before the trip and provided that the person has no symptoms.

MEMBERS – A9.   Movement is allowed ONLY in case of emergency medical need and after contacting the Personal Physician or through 1420. Where possible, the movement should be done unaccompanied and only by personal vehicle (not by bus or taxi).

10.  Until the end of the home self-isolation period, waste should be placed in a double bag and stored for 72 hours in a separate area from the designated collection. At the end of 72 hours, they can be placed in their usual collection area.

11.  If the suspected case is under 15 years old or is a person in need of care and does not self-care, then a parent/guardian/caregiver may limit himself/herself together with the suspected case to take care of it and request special permission. For the person who chooses to stay in self-isolation along with the suspected case, the same instructions apply to self-isolation at home and isolation from other roommates and the wider environment, as they apply to the suspected case.

12.  The only exception for lifting self-isolation is for examination purposes in public health clinics.

13.  No close contact is allowed to remain in a hotel other than the appropriate hotels of the Ministry of Tourism. Private accommodation must be arranged or transferred to the appropriate hotel.

 

NEXT UPDATE / TESTING / RELEASE 

  1. The isolation period is set at 14 days. The person defined as close contact can be released from quarantine earlier than 14 days if he/she performs PCR test in a contracted laboratory on the 7th day after contact with a confirmed case or later (considering the contact day as day zero) and has a negative result. The negative PCR result should be sent to the email contacttracing3@moh.gov.cy.
  2. Quarantine starts from the last day of contact with the case and not from the day of notification. The contact day is defined as day zero and the self-isolation days start counting from the next day.
  3. If close contacts are not isolated from the positive case (e.g., parents caring for a minor, carers caring for people who are not self-employed, etc.), then the last contact day (day zero) is considered the day the positive case is released, since until the last day before his release the positive person is potentially contagious and the days of self-limitation are renewed.
  4. If a person has been reported as in close contact with the confirmed case, a Public Health Clinic Coordinating Officer will contact the suspected case by telephone within a few days for information on the sample testing. Instructions for the place and way of going will be given by phone. From the tracking perspective, a free test on any close contact is justified.
  5. The result of the test will be informed within 72 hours by text message.
  6. If the person defined as close contact is not called for a test or does not wish to take the test, he/she can return to his / her activities after 14 days from the last contact with the case, as long as he/she does not show any symptoms.
  7. The quarantine is automatically lifted after the days of self-restraint without further notice.

 

PERSONAL PHYSICIAN 

  1. You do not need to inform the Personal Physician from the beginning, except in case of the development of symptoms. The doctor can then schedule another sample testing if deemed necessary.
  2. Daily thermometry is recommended by the individual.
  3. In case there is no personal doctor, immediate registration is recommended. If this is not possible, the person can call 1420 for symptom reporting and assessment.

 

SPECIAL PERMIT 

It is possible to obtain a work permit from the Ministry of Health for persons who have been assessed as having close contact with a confirmed case. The relevant file can also be completed electronically in the following manner: 

  1. On the page https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/, in the Information / Instructions tab there is the file Application for the issuance of a medical certificate for Public Health reasons (Πληροφορίες/Οδηγίες υπάρχει το αρχείο Αίτηση για έκδοση ιατρικού πιστοποιητικού για λόγους Δημόσιας Υγείας.).
  2. It is completed and sent after the isolation by fax (22771496) or via email (cycomnet1@cytanet.com.cy), as stated in the form. The certificate will be sent back in the same manner.
  3. The Certificate of Absence from Work for Public Health reasons issued by the Ministry of Health must be submitted to the Employer or to the Social Security Services.

 

For general information, call 1474 (08: 00-20: 00).

For any additional instructions to state your close contacts and clarifications about the tracking process, contact the Tracking Team at 22514264, 22514258, 22514259, 22771923 or email contacttracing2@moh.gov.cy (Monday-Sunday 08: 00-00 : 00).

Call your personal doctor or 1420 (24 hours) for symptoms.

Related Posts