The Cabinet will have a lot on its plate during a meeting rescheduled for Friday amid deteriorating epidemiological conditions in Cyprus, with a number of loopholes in the government’s fight against the pandemic popping up one after the other.
According government spokesperson Marios Pelekanos, the Cabinet set to meet Friday might decide to take additional measures to curb the sharp rise in COVID cases in the Republic of Cyprus. But the official declined to describe what measures would be discussed or whether a new lockdown might be up for discussion.
A Cabinet meeting, which was originally scheduled to take place on Wednesday, was pushed back a couple of days after Cyprus passed the thousand mark in daily detected infections, with Thursday’s figures registering 1120 cases and one death.
But additional issues have been creeping up in the last few days including loopholes in self-isolation for hotel guests and fake text messages being used as part of a Safe Pass to gain access in high-risk areas.
During a primetime program on Sigmalive this week, the news anchor said there have been allegations that tourists who have been infected with the coronavirus failed to quarantine themselves in the form of self-isolation in their hotel rooms.
“There are situations where they have confirmed cases that need to be isolated and quarantined, but there are no checks to ensure this is taking place, and as a result infected persons are moving about in the community and transmitting the virus,” the news anchor said.
Another issue involved fake text messages about rapid test results, a concern among state agencies raised by health ministry coordinator Carolina Stylianou, who said officials have received complaints about the authenticity of text messages used as Safe Pass to gain access to specific areas.
Stylianou said that she believed police officers would have no qualms about accepting SMS as proof but called on test takers to request a paper-format proof of their negative test results “just for their own convenience, in order to have it at the ready instead of scrambling to get one later.”
Reports also said many young people were roaming free in beach areas without ever showing a Safe Pass before entering an establishment, or at least one person from the group might present a document with others accessing areas without being checked.
Earlier this week, health experts on the government’s advisory team said they had not been asked to recommend additional measures, but reports said there were discussions as daily cases continued to rise.
A gradual rise in daily cases - from two digits to three, then four - has been taking places in the last few weeks in the Republic of Cyprus, after the government lifted a night curfew and introduced last-minute protocols for reopening nightclubs in mid June.
Health experts have attributed the rise in positive cases to the spread of the Delta variant of the virus.
Since late June, officials have been calling on people especially young adults to get vaccinated, with the government doubling down on its efforts by announcing a set of inventiveness and counterincentives aimed at boosting vaccination rates in groups where individuals are more socially active.