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25 June, 2024
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Cyprus simplifies dance unban for carnival week

Minister signs Mardis Gras decree but layered vaccination-based risk-assessment formula still under wraps


The government in the Republic of Cyprus is adjusting rules for clubbing and dancing venues during carnival week, but a layered risk-assessment formula partially based on vaccination status won’t go into effect until next month after the end of festivities.

Cypriot Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela on Wednesday told a local television network that he was signing a decree that would allow people regardless of vaccination status to go to dance clubs or any other venue where over 150 people are known to congregate as long as they show a negative rapid test result taken on the same day.

“We had to come up with some number, we could not start at zero for all venues because that would mess people up, especially vaccinated individuals who wouldn’t be able to readily know whether or not they need a rapid test,” Hadjipantela said.

The minister’s actions came following earlier debate on whether bans and restrictions on unvaccinated individuals were too harsh compared to vaccinated people who were not required to take any rapid tests before entering restricted venues.

The move came following debate on whether bans and restrictions on unvaccinated individuals were too harsh compared to vaccinated people who were not required to test before entering restricted venues

Experts including members on a government pandemic task force have been calling for rapid tests on everyone entering high risk venues, even calling for tests right outside the entrance, warning that vaccinated individuals could be transmitting the bug without ever being detected by authorities as testing had been optional for those jabbed.

According to health ministry representative Constantinos Athanasiou, a set of proposals based on risk assessments for individuals would replace current rules but the measures won’t go into effect until after a Cabinet meeting on March 3.

The new pandemic relaxations and restrictions based on an individual approach will include a layered risk-assessment formula that would differentiate between people based on infection and transmission risk at the individual level but with different protocols depending on location.

“Someone who has not been vaccinated will be assessed differently from people who have completed their vaccination or even got a booster shot,” Athanasiou said last week.

But this week Athanasiou made clear that while unvaccinated individuals or people who have not completed their vaccine regimens will still have to show a negative rapid test valid for 24 hours, people who got a booster shot could enter an entertainment venue without showing a test result.

The Republic of Cyprus has been considering pandemic relaxations as numbers of hospitalizations on the island and across Europe have been falling.

But the government has been keeping a tight lid on the precise relaxations formula as well as when exactly it will be implemented, with local media pointing out the earliest Cabinet meeting that needs to approve the protocols won’t be until March 3 after a high festive weekend.

Health expert Maria Koliou, who is an advisor on the government’s pandemic task force, said the final shape of protocols has yet to emerge.

“They are preparing some protocols for dance venues, I’m not sure if they have finalized them,” Koliou said.

Cyprus  |  pandemic  |  dancing  |  clubbing  |  carnival  |  Mardis Gras  |  vaccine  |  unban  |  vaccinated  |  unvaccinated  |  booster shot

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