Cyprus to gradually dismantle anti-Covid restrictions

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Cyprus’ government has decided to gradually lift coronavirus restrictions as a result of a stabilization in daily Covid-19 infections in recent days, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas said after a meeting of the Council of Ministers.

Hadjipantelas said the easing of restrictions will come into force on February 21 and will be in effect until March 14, Xinhua news agency reported.

He said the most important decision was the abolition of a differentiation between vaccinated and unvaccinated people in relation to entering entertainment venues and attending social and sports events.

Hadjipantelas said that vaccinated people will have unrestricted access to restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs, while unvaccinated ones will be allowed access to such venues after presenting a 24-hour negative rapid test certificate.

Unvaccinated people were banned from entertainment venues and social events since mid-December, 2021. Entry to such places was only allowed to fully vaccinated people or those with at least one dose of an approved vaccine who presented a negative 72-hour PCR or 48-hour rapid test.

The relaxation of measures was made possible as, according to Health Ministry data, daily infections in the last few days stabilized at between 2,500 and 3,000, with the positivity ratio ranging between 2.0 and 2.5 per cent, in a population of about one million.

There has also been a significant reduction on the pressure of the health system which allowed the cabinet to lift a ban on non-urgent operations in hospital, which was in force for almost three months, Hadjipantelas said.

He also said that the cabinet also decided to increase the number of people allowed to sit around a table at restaurants and similar venues from eight to 12 and of those attending family meetings in private houses from 10 to 20, excluding children.

A ban on dancing in clubs will also be lifted, the minister said.

Attendance of entertainment venues and of social events will be increased from 200 to 250, while theaters and cinemas will operate at 75 per cent of their capacity. Sports fields will be operated at 70 per cent of their sitting capacity.

Hadjipantelas said the percentage of people working from home is to be reduced from 50 percent to 25 per cent.

He further said that contacts of confirmed Covid-19 cases will be allowed to continue working in the public service and children to attend nurseries and schools after testing negative to a daily rapid test for coronavirus.

Among restrictions remaining in force is the use of a face mask in closed venues and in crowded public places.

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