Cyprus must continue to show good epidemiological figures before any more restrictions can be lifted safely, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said Monday.
Against a backdrop of new relaxations kicking in on Monday, which saw high school first and second graders return to classrooms, the resumption of flights and the opening of private institutes, dance and music schools, galleries and gyms with specific protocols, the Minister said that we are near the end but we must not rush.
He noted that with the decrees in place, the rapid testing of the population and the inoculation scheme, Cyprus authorities are moving towards continuing the gradual relaxation of measures, but said good figures are a prerequisite.
Ioannou noted that Cyprus is able to move forward with additional relaxations of measures because it follows a conservative strategy, based on the advice and the suggestions of the scientific committee which looks at certain indices each time and tries to minimise the risks.
Ioannou reiterated that epidemiological indices change and therefore a long-term strategy is not on the table right now. The Minister added that we need to continue with the inoculation of all vulnerable groups and until we succeed in doing so, the plan remains for increased rapid tests that allow a timely detection and isolationof positive cases.
He also said that the contact tracing process has become even stricter, as have protocols and decrees are in place for the protection of the public. Ioannou said that all the above are key for a return to normality and urged everyone to adhere with the measures and cooperate.
He said that the majority of the population appears to be following the rules, but expressed concern over cases that show a degree of disrespect towards those who adhere to the measures and to the sacrifices we have all made since the pandemic broke out.
The Minister also said that the scientific committee does takes into consideration calls for more relaxations, but noted that not all suggestions are achievable and sometimes there are objective difficulties to be taken into account.
He noted that the lifting of all restrictions needs to be done in a gradual and safe manner and asked the public to show patience and cooperation.