Cypriot experts are signaling a relaxation of measures against people who are unvaccinated, but government officials maintain that any new criteria would still be based on individual risk assessment linked to vaccination status.
Members of the government’s pandemic advisory committee were scheduled to meet with the Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela ahead of a Cabinet meeting, when new measures were expected to be taken.
Reports this week said the government might consider relaxing restrictive measures that ban unvaccinated persons from specific venues, with the head of the committee, Constantinos Tsioutis, said to be in favor of pushing forward but declining to give specific details.
Tsioutis had gone public previously with calls for a “rational and well thought-out management plan” for the pandemic, while in previous remarks he suggested some measures were not being adopted by the health ministry, which had been targeting many restrictions on unvaccinated persons.
'Someone who has not been vaccinated will be assessed differently from people who have completed their vaccination or even got a booster shot'
But health ministry representative Constantinos Athanasiou this week said proposals based on risk assessments of individuals would still involve vaccination status, saying evaluations would vary between types of venues and activities.
“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.
Local media recently said some proposals would suggest that rapid tests ought to be allowed outside venues to help assess a person’s actual risk before entering a venue.
Talk of new relaxations emerged after experts said the pandemic situation in Cyprus was improving with indices and percentages falling but still noting a number of recent deaths.
But some experts have suggested it was too soon to lift measures against the unvaccinated.
A local pneumonologist, Charis Armeftis who speaks frequently on television, expressed skepticism about relaxations for the unvaccinated, offering his view that a big factor in the decision would be hospitalizations and especially cases in intensive care.
“At a time when you have a reduction in the number of hospitalized patients, this means you have an important leeway,” the expert said.
But Armeftis added that measures would need to be “aimed at protecting groups of people that were in need of protection due to a greater risk of hospitalization after an infection,” with the expert going on to list the elderly, vulnerable groups, the unvaccinated, and those who did not recover from a recent infection.
Reports said the health minister would consider a number of proposals such as increasing number of guests in social gatherings, allowing dance in clubs and taverns, and removing restrictions that ban the unvaccinated from having access to night clubs.
“Well, I believe what we have to realize that those who are in danger in such venues are primarily people who have not been vaccinated, because those are the ones who are at risk of being hospitalized after an infection,” Armeftis added.