The Minister of Health, Michalis Hadjipandela, held a press conference today to announce new mandatory health measures in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The move comes after the detection of the omicron variant in 5 coronavirus cases in Limassol.
The new measures as announced below:
(a) as of 16 December 2021, Covid-19 vaccinations for children aged 5-11 years will begin and be carried out at Maternity Protection and Child Welfare Centers of the Ministry of Health in all provinces.
(b) as of December 15, 2021 to January 15, 2022, vaccinated individuals reported as close contacts of a confirmed positive case are required to undergo a rapid antigen detection test within 72 hours and on the 7th day a free PCR laboratory examination through public clinics. Excluded are those who received the booster / 3rd dose of vaccine.
(c) as of 15 December 2021, mandatory quarantine of individuals who test positive for the omicron variant or any possible future mutation. Contacts of these specific cases are obliged to remain in quarantine regardless of vaccination coverage.
(d) on 15 January 2022 the Council of Ministers will review the previous decision to abolish the SafePass for those persons who do not receive the booster/3rd dose of vaccine against Covid-19 after 6 + 1 months. Individuals who have surpassed the 7-month mark of their second dose of the vaccine (for two-dose vaccines) and for the single-dose vaccine, must undergo a 72-hour PCR laboratory test or a 48-hour rapid antigen detection test, for SafePass purposes.
(e) as of 15 December 2021, those who can prove that they cannot be vaccinated due to health reasons will be exempted from the mandatory SafePass requirement. These individuals should show the special card issued to them by the Ministry of Health but must also provide a negative rapid to PCR test on a weekly basis.
(f) as of 15 December 2021 until 31 January 2022, entry to social events such as weddings, christenings and restaurants within hotels shall be permitted only to persons who have received at least one dose of the vaccine, provided that they possess a negative PCR or Rapid test result. The previous decision of the Council of Ministers also applies to the following spaces: indoor and outdoor stadiums, theaters, cinemas, theaters, music and dance centers, entertainment centers and restaurants.
(g) Christmas events to be held by companies, organizations and unions, either indoors or outdoors, must strictly comply with Ministry health protocols or face cancellation.
(h) as of 15 December 2021, passengers arriving in the Republic of Cyprus are required to undergo a rapid test after 72 hours from the date of arrival. The rapid tests will be provided free of charge through the sampling points of the Ministry of Health by presenting the passenger's boarding pass and identification (identity card, passport). Those who received the booster/3rd dose of vaccine are excluded from this requirement.
(i) as of 15 December 2021, Covid booster shots/3rd doses must be administered by 5 months and 2 weeks (not 6 months) after the 2nd or 1st dose depending on the type of vaccine used.
Speech from the Minister of Health, Michalis Hadjipandelas:
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to convey to you the anguish and concern of the members of the Council of Ministers, for the difficult days we are experiencing. Not only in Cyprus, but in the whole of Europe, in the whole planet.
All of humanity is in a constant "war" with a deadly virus, which changes faces, mutates, adapts, spreads faster, and in some cases strikes instantly and creates very serious long-term problems in vital organs.
The covid-19 disease has caused the death of more than 5 million, 310 thousand people worldwide!
Unfortunately, last week, in Cyprus, we lost some of our fellow citizens from this disease. They all could have been saved, but they essentially refused the help of our doctors and hospitals. An unimaginable fact, which cannot be accepted. Acceptance of science has been and remains a key component of human progress for centuries.
We often say that health is the most valuable asset for man. Life itself, however, is better!
In the "war" against the pandemic, we are responsible for what happens to us, but we cannot behave so selfishly, so casually. Have we ever wondered how painful these behaviors can be for our family, for our relatives, for our friends?
The entire scientific community around the world has been ringing the alarm bell for several months now.
In this state of emergency, the faithful implementation of the measures proposed by experts, and vaccination, which is considered the most powerful weapon in science, is not a matter of individual choice. We cannot be indifferent to the protection of those around us, but also to the sadness that we may cause to our loved ones.
Last week I was at the meeting of the Ministers of Health of the countries of the European Union. There is no other way. The end of the coronavirus will come ONLY if we faithfully follow the instructions of the experts. Anything else is considered dangerous.
Two years after the beginning of the pandemic, we have advanced as a science, we have acquired knowledge and data, we have developed weapons to deal with this unprecedented phenomenon. From the moment vaccines were administered worldwide, we now see with unwavering evidence that they are effective against the spread of serious disease and loss of life. I take as an example Israel, where hospitalizations are kept at very low levels due to the very good vaccination program of the country regarding the third dose, and the participation of the citizens.
The Government does not isolate our fellow citizens.
The Ministry of Health does not isolate our fellow human beings.
We offer everyone the opportunity to protect their own health and the health of their loved ones.
Vaccination saves lives!