The Ministry of Health has issued clarifications concerning the new measures announced on Wednesday by the Cabinet.
According to the Ministry of Health, from November 29 the age limit for wearing masks is reduced to six years of age in all areas where the protective mask is required and this includes elementary schools.
Excluded from this requirement are children aged six who are in pre-primary education. Outside school, children should wear masks in all areas where the use of masks is mandatory. Excluded are people with severe autism and those diagnosed with acute or severe chronic respiratory distress conditions or those who are unable to remove their masks by themselves due to serious motor or mental illness.
As of November 29, all primary school pupils will undergo rapid antigen tests on a weekly basis, through the Ministry of Health mobile testing units, until the Christmas holiday break. Children are allowed to go to school on the first week of the implementation of the measures without a laboratory exam as they will undergo tests at schools. Guidelines will be given by the Ministry of Education.
As of November 29, all school Christmas celebrations are suspended. For other Christmas events organized by various other bodies, a permit by the Ministry of Health will be required and can be obtained at firstname.lastname@example.org. School photographs can be taken individually, provided that all health measures have been taken and photographers have a valid SafePass.
As of November 29, the SafePass checks, through the CovScan Cyprus app, will be applied to people aged 14 years and over. The presentation of a digital certificate in paper form is also allowed.
As of November 29 in high-risk areas where case chains will be detected, rapid tests will be carried out through the mobile units of the Ministry of Health to all individuals regardless of age and vaccination history.
High-risk sites will be designated by the Epidemiological Surveillance Unit of the Ministry of Health and the affected areas or local authorities will be informed.
All citizens will be able to undergo self-tests from 13th December. The cost for the supply of self-tests will be borne by citizens in case of unvaccinated people, while the tests for those who are vaccinated will be subsidized by the Ministry of Health and will be prescribed by their personal doctors.
It is clarified that self-tests do not substitute Rapid or PCR tests for SafePass purposes and in case of a positive result, a PCR test will be needed and personal doctors will need to be informed. More information will be released in the coming days.
As of December 15, only persons who have received at least one dose of the vaccine will be able to enter the following premises on the condition that they have a negative PCR or rapid test:
- indoor and outdoor stadiums (professional athletes, employees at the stadiums and those aged 12-18 training or competing in these areas are exempted from the prohibition).
- theatres, amphitheatres, cinemas, entertainment halls (employees are exempted provided they can present a negative PCR or rapid test).
- nightclubs, discos, music/dance and catering establishments, including those at malls (employees are exempted provided they can present a negative PCR or rapid test). Residents at hotel units visiting restaurants within the hotels are exempted provided they have a valid Safepass.
Also exempted are children between 6-11 provided they have a valid SafePass while there are no restrictions for children under 6 years of age.
In all other areas, the existing provisions continue to apply according to the relevant decrees.
From 18 December, the SafePass will no longer be valid for individuals who have not received a booster shot after a period of seven (7) months, following the completion of their initial vaccination scheme. However, they will still be able to enter the above areas ONLY upon presentation of a negative PCR laboratory test or rapid antigen test in digital form.
In cases of people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, the exemption applies only after approval by the Ad Hoc Committee of the Pancyprian Medical Association. People who have become ill with COVID are excluded, provided that six months have not elapsed since their recovery and they hold a certificate of recovery.
Those between 12-17 years of age, in order to obtain a SafePass need PCR tests or rapid tests with a 72-hour validity or a certificate of recovery of up to six months. Those 18 and over require negative PCR tests with a 72-hour validity or a rapid test with a 48-hour validity.
Those who have had one dose of the vaccine are allowed free rapid tests through the Ministry of Health program for a three-week period after being vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech or four weeks if vaccinated with the Moderna jab. Those who have completed the two-dose regime and have not had the third dose are not entitled to free rapid tests after the elapse of seven months from their original vaccination regime.
More clarifications will be issued for measures that will come into force from December 15, the statement added.