Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas and the Scientific Committee on the pandemic on Monday assessed the situation in Cyprus and exchanged views as regards the new covid variant Omicron which has put the globe on high alert.
Suggestions on the table include stricter measures for everyone entering Cyprus, Christmas celebrations to be held outdoors only with a Safepass, as well as remote working.
The Head of the committee Constantinos Tsioutis said that the message from today's meeting is clear that vaccination is a weapon but we need to have other measures in place as well.
Hadjipantelas told the press that both his Ministry and the Scientific community agreed to have mandatory PCR tests at airports, ports and marinas and stricter measures at crossing points. He clarified that this issue will be discussed at the Foreign Ministry level, a Health Ministry press release says.
The Minister said that stricter measures do not mean closing entry points into Cyprus, adding that for all those who are not permanent residents of Cyprus a PCR test will be required.
The scientific committee had also suggested that all Christmas celebrations take place outdoors with a Safepass for all attendees, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, and this will be put before the Cabinet. Asked if the number of people at house gatherings will be decreased, he said that no such suggestion was discussed but the situation is being monitored as we go along, given that we have new data before us with the Omicron variant.
He also said that remote working will also be suggested to the Cabinet.
When asked about the inoculation of children aged 5-11, he said that this suggestion will be discussed at the Ministerial Council next week as "we need to first have all the available data, including vaccine availability".
Hadjipantelas said that next week he will be abroad and asked the Head of the Scientific Committee to preside over the meeting if needed.
The Head of the committee Constantinos Tsioutis said that the message from today`s meeting is clear that vaccination is a weapon but we need to have other measures in place as well.
He said that we need more evidence on the new variant to be able to understand its characteristics. He added the intensifying of checks/tests was suggested in order to detect the new mutation early enough in the population thereby decreasing its spread. He also noted that that delta is a very transmissible variant and that it was already in Cyprus.
And finally, when asked whether people infected with the new mutation only showed mild symptoms, the Minister responded that it was too early to tell and that more data would be needed on the new mutation.