People and businesses in the Republic of Cyprus were still waiting Friday for an official decree after Cabinet approval for a controversial CoronaPass, but COVID survivors with antibodies could have a hard time proving immunity after the health ministry said it would not accept self-test or home kits.
According to new government post-lockdown measures expected to go into effect on Monday, people in Cyprus who wish to access certain places will have to obtain a CoronaPass, essentially proving they have immunity for the novel coronavirus.
People thought to be immune to COVID-19 will be eligible to use a Coronapass if they have been vaccinated with at least one dose at least three weeks prior or had a negative PCR or antigen rapid test valid for 72 hours.
Access to self test kits is approved by the government, but those previously recovered and not reported to the health ministry need to be vaccinated or take a rapid test if they wish to use CoronaPass
But another way to obtain a CoronaPass remains controversial, after Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said antibody tests or self-test kits would not be acceptable in proving immunity to the coronavirus.
According to the minister, who presented post-lockdown measures on Thursday, those who have fallen ill from a coronavirus infection in the last six months will be able to register their case for a CoronaPass, but only if their infection was confirmed by government health officials or an approved pharmacy.
Back in March, the government set conditions to facilitate a decongestion of the island’s rapid test spots by allowing pharmacies to become alternative testing centers, where pharmacists could conduct tests and report confirmed cases officially to the health ministry.
But antibody tests that can be done at the pharmacy or at home, along with other self-diagnostic methods including saliva, were not included on a list of approved kits that has been sent to pharmacies across the Republic.
While access to home test kits for COVID-19 has been officially approved by the government, the ban on antibody kits means virus survivors not reported to the health ministry would have to be vaccinated or take a rapid test if they wish to use the CoronaPass.
According to the new measures, people won’t have to send a text message before going out, while CoronaPass won’t be required for supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, or going to the beach.
As of Friday morning, no executive order had been issued for the post-lockdown measures, expected to go into effect Monday.
Critics including legal experts have raised concerns over CoronaPass, saying the measure is unconstitutional and limits human freedoms, white the government says it is added measure for those who wish to access certain places in a safe manner to protect public health.