At today's Cabinet meeting, the Minister of Health, Mr. Michalis Hadjipantela, presented the suggestions of the members of the Scientific Advisory Committee discussed during yesterday's meeting, which included an analysis of data recorded and evaluated by the tracking team and nurses as well as the rates of vaccination coverage of the population.
In the last few days, a steady decrease in the number of covid cases has been recorded. "Compassion is not allowed and there needs to be constant vigilance by all for the faithful observance of the health protocols," according to the Minister of Health.
According to the data of the Epidemiological Surveillance Unit of the Ministry of Health, from 15 to 21 January 2022, 13,997 positive cases were recorded within the community, with a decrease being recorded in all age groups. "The Ministry of Health is constantly on the alert and evaluates all scientific and/or epidemiological data together with the Scientific Advisory Committee. The guiding principle is the safest operation of society, with the aim of protecting and safeguarding the health of all citizens," he added.
Based on the current situation and the need to update specific protocols that will allow society and the economy to function safely and productively, the Council of Ministers has decided:
(a) from 28 January 2022, the required PCR laboratory test for close contacts of positive cases will be replaced with a rapid antigen detection test (Rapid test) on the 7th day testing mandate. In this regard, persons may be released from self-isolation on the 7th day with only a rapid test, provided that the test result is negative, instead of waiting until the 10th day. This rule will only be applied to persons who are deemed close contacts excluding health professionals working in private and public hospitals, nursing homes and closed structures.
• The above procedure will also apply to students who are close contacts in schools. Those who have opted for the "test to stay" measure are required to undergo rapid tests every day for 7 days, through the sampling points announced daily by the Ministry of Health and operating in schools, in order to be present in the classroom.
(b) the "test to stay" measure will be implemented for health professionals of public and private hospitals, in the Police and the Fire Department.
• The date of implementation of the measure will be announced after consultation with the relevant Ministries and Services.
(c) from 28 January 2022, the Cabinet recommends that children aged 2-5 years undergo a rapid antigen test (Rapid test) once a week in order to physically attend their classes in kindergartens and pre-primary schools.
• The Rapid test will be provided free of charge through the sampling points of the Ministry of Health.
(d) all existing measures have been extended until 17 February 2022.