Republic of Cyprus - Rules

Statement by the Minister of Health, Mr Constantinos Ioannou, to restart the RoC economy and social activity – 6 May 2021


The de-escalation of measures will be gradual and depending on the epidemiological picture as it develops.  The return to more normal conditions must be achieved safely and carefully, hence, restrictions cannot be completely abolished at this stage. 


We have decided to gradually unlock the economy and social activity, with a deadline set for 1 June. There will be 3 phases, in parallel we are accelerating vaccinations, to achieve the target of administering at least the 1st dose of the vaccine to more than 60% of the population by the end of June.


Phase 1 until 16 May, the measures which were in force until 25 April are reinstated with the same restrictions and health protocols.  On 17 May, more businesses will be reopened and there will be more relaxations in social activities. 
From 17 May, the number of persons in cultural sites and places of religious worship will increase, the organization of social events such as weddings and christenings will be allowed, businesses which have been closed for months will be allowed to reopen, such as playgrounds, luna parks, casinos, zoos, picnic areas. 


From 1 June further relaxations will be implemented. In addition, it was decided to abolish the measure for sending a written message for movement purposes. To be more secure when we are present in specific areas where there is congestion and an increased presence of individuals, it has been decided that in overcrowded areas (e.g. shopping centers, restaurants, churches, etc.), along with the use of masks and other personal protective measures, one of the following conditions should apply: 

  • Individuals should have been vaccinated with at least one dose and a period of 3 weeks should have elapsed; or 

  • Have been infected with COVID-19 in the last 6 months; or 

  • If one of the above does not apply, and as a temporary solution until vaccination coverage is further advanced, citizens aged 12 or over will be given the option to present a certificate of negative test, PCR or rapid test, valid for 72 hours. 

 

This measure is temporary and will be implemented for a transitional period. The aim, is to achieve the desired immunity through vaccinations. 

 

Responsibility for checking for the possession of evidence does not lie with the managers of the businesses, but checks will be carried out by the officers of the Police or of the competent Ministries and Departments depending on the businesses that fall within the areas of their competence. 

 

The results of the vaccinations have begun to show a positive change in epidemiological data in our country as well. Having exceeded 33 % of people vaccinated with the 1st dose of licensed vaccines, we are already seeing the benefits since the cases of serious illness and hospitalisations of the elderly, in particular, have decreased to a very large extent, as a result of very high vaccination coverage in older ages.

 

The response from citizens for vaccination is encouraging and this gives us optimism that we will soon be able to move on to even more relaxations. Younger ages are showing an increased interest in vaccination. 

 

The application of protective measures combined with vaccination is our vehicle for exiting the difficult conditions of the pandemic. The horizon of June and the end of these unprecedented conditions are near. 


Cyprus - 4th among EU member states for administration of vaccine doses 
39.6% of the population has been vaccinated with the first dose of the vaccine by 11 May (293,180 people), while 12.4% has completed their vaccination regimen (91,459 people). 

 

The total number of vaccinations administered in Cyprus is now 384,639.  According to the website OurWorldInData, Cyprus now ranks 4th among the EU member states in terms of the administration of vaccine doses per 100 inhabitants. 


The goal to vaccine 65% of citizens with a first dose within the first half of the year, continues.
Citizens aged 18 and over will be offered a vaccine appointment in May.  People in older age groups have been offered another chance to make an appointment.

 
RoC Safe Pass
Cyprus now requires a ‟SafePassˮ from 10 May, when visiting crowded places.
To obtain a SafePass, citizens must present one of the following forms of evidence: 


1. Vaccination certificate with at least one dose administered >3 weeks previously. Citizens can present the Vaccination Card given to them at the vaccination centres, or 


2. Proof a person has contracted COVID-19 in the last 6 months. Citizens may present the release text message or the recovery text message sent to their mobile phone by the Ministry of Health, or 


3. If one of the above does not apply, citizens aged 12 and over can present a negative test certificate, from a negative PCR or a rapid test, <72 hours old. Citizens may present either the form provided by the different test units or the text message sent to their mobile phone with the result of the test. 


Certificates from an antibody test or self-test are not accepted.


In the case where point 2 applies, the following shall be specified: 

  • A person is considered a coronavirus case for SARS-CoV-2 if he/she has been diagnosed positive in a molecular test (PCR test) or an antigen rapid test by: 

  • a clinical laboratory that has verified the process of carrying out the diagnostic methodology that detects the genetic material of the virus (RT-RCR), or 

  • a mobile rapid test unit through the Ministry of Health programme; or 

  • a clinical laboratory that meets the specifications of the Ministry of Health for a rapid antigen test.

  • Person diagnosed as a coronavirus positive case should be reported to the Epidemiological Monitoring Unit of the Ministry of Health within a reasonable time from the date of issue of the result. 

  • The cases reported in the Epidemiological Monitoring Unit are traced and released on the basis of protocol either following actions by their Personal Physician or by the Release Team of the Epidemiological Monitoring Unit (if there is no Personal Physician). 

  • Persons who are recorded in the Epidemiological Monitoring Unit archives and have contracted COVID-19 in the last 6 months, regardless of whether they have received an SMS for release at the end of their quarantine, will receive again an SMS with proof of recovery by 9 May 9. The recovery SMS will indicate the period of validity of the proof. This SMS may be presented in the event of a check.  Individuals, such as minors or elderly who do not have a personal mobile phone, the SMS will be sent to the mobile phone of the parent/guardian or the representative of the person registered in the system.

  • Those who have been diagnosed as positive cases, have been released but have not received an SMS either at the end of their quarantine or by 9 May, should complete the declaration and send it as soon as possible to the email: contacttracing2@moh.gov.cy

Where is a SafePass required?
Persons aged 12 and over must present in case of a check by authorized SafePass Officers, in the following premises / businesses:


Evidence must be provided in the following venues:

 

  • Catering establishments (Restaurants, cafes, bars, snack bars, etc.) 

  • Places of religious worship 

  • Outdoor and in-door theatres, cinemas and performing arts or spectacle halls 

  • Shopping centres and department stores 

  • Social events such as weddings, christenings and funerals 

  • Gyms, dance schools and other sports schools, in accordance with the guidelines by the Cyprus Sports Organisation 

  • Senior People’s homes, nursing homes, accommodation facilities for the chronically ill and other enclosed structures, 

  • Hotels and tourist accommodations 

  • Pre-election gatherings in theatres/amphitheatres, dining areas, houses 

  • Conferences, trade fairs 

  • Casinos 

  • The presentation of evidence is not mandatory for going to the following places: 

  • Hairdressers, beauty parlours 

  • Banks 

  • Departments of the private, public and wider public sector where the public is served 

  • Gambling and betting businesses 

  • Farmers’ markets, supermarkets, bakeries, butcheries, fishmongers, fruit markets, minimarkets, kiosks, pharmacies 

  • Beaches

  • Out-door picnic areas, dams and zoos. 

Souce: https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/10052021_safepassrequirementEN.pdf; https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/12052021_vaccinesCyprusranks4thEN.pdf; https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/08052021_Implementation%20of%20the%20%E2%80%98SafePass%E2%80%99EN.pdf; https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/08052021_passengersEN.pdf

Vaccinations – 26/4/21
The National Vaccination Plan against COVID19, is speeding up it vaccination coverage of the population, therefore, by the beginning of May, at least the 1st dose of the vaccine can be administered to individuals aged 40.


To accelerate the vaccination process the Ministry of Health has asked the scientific companies of Personal Doctors, to undertake vaccinations at their medical centres. AstraZeneca vaccines can be administered to customers aged 30 and over, according to a schedule prepared by the doctors themselves. 


On 25 April, a total of 241,700 vaccinations have been carried out (27.5 doses per 100 inhabitants). According to data published on the ECDC website, the 1st dose was administered to 23.2% (181,230), while both doses were administered to 8.3% (60,470) people.


On 20 April 2021, EMA’s safety committee (PRAC) issued a warning about unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be added to the product information for COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen. PRAC stated these events should be listed as very rare side effects of the vaccine.  The cases reviewed were very similar to the cases that occurred with the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca, Vaxzevria.


RoC Statement & Rules 24.4.21
The National Report reflects the critical situation that exists since the upward trend of the epidemic, the high viral load in the community and the pressure on hospitals continue. Vaccination helps and this is reflected in the reduction of hospitalizations for individuals over 70 years of age, but we must protect those at risk. The only option left is to impose these strict measures that will reduce mobility, the circle of our close contacts and positive cases. The Health System is under intense pressure and we need to ensure in every way that the health services provided will continue to be offered at a high level. 


In view of all the above, the Council of Ministers decided to proceed with strict measures for a short period, aimed at partially halting the growing transmission of SARS-CoV-2, which could offer time to benefit from vaccination and de-escalate partially the pressure on the Health System. 


Therefore, as of Monday, 26 April 2021, at 5 a.m. until Sunday, 9 May 2021, at midnight, the Council of Ministers decided the following: 

 

  • Movement is prohibited from 9 p.m. until 5 am of the following day except in the following cases: 

  • Moving to and from the workplace and for working purposes using the “Confirmation for Employee’s Movement” Form. 

  • Going to a Medical Centre or a Hospital or a pharmacy or a veterinarian. 

  • Meetings, public gatherings or social events, irrespective of venue (private or public space), indoors or outdoors (e.g. squares, dams, picnic areas, marinas) are prohibited. 3. By way of exception and only for Easter Sunday (2 May), in addition to permanent residents, persons from only two families may be present in houses, provided that the total number of persons in the house does not exceed 10 persons, including minors. 

  • Only one movement is allowed per person per day via a text message to 8998. Movement for vaccination purposes against COVID-19, does not require a text message. 

  • Church and other forms of religious worship in religious places will be performed without the presence of believers. 

  • Religious ceremonies (weddings, christenings, funerals) with a maximum of 10 persons are allowed. 

  • The presence of believers in places of religious worship is permitted for the purpose of individual prayer and with a maximum number of 10 persons present at the same time. 

  • The presence of believers in the courtyard of the temples is permitted only for Holy Saturday (May 1st), in compliance with the measure of distancing and the health protocol applicable to the operation of the churches, and provided that arrangements will be made for believers to be seated. Inside the temples, only on Holy Saturday the presence of up to 50 people is allowed, on the basis of the protocol. On all other days of Holy Week, the presence of believers in places of religious worship is prohibited either indoors or outdoors. 

  • On Holy Saturday (May 1st), to facilitate the participation of believers in the Resurrection Mass, the curfew begins at 1 a.m. (Holy Saturday to Easter Sunday) instead of 9 p.m. Saturday night. On all other days, the curfew begins at 9 p.m. 

  • Remote work in public service is a compulsory for at least 20 % of the staff, with the exception of essential and other services, which will be defined by a Decree. 

  • For private service providers the simultaneous physical presence of 20% of the staff is allowed, with a minimum number of three employees and a maximum of 25 employees per professional practice/legal entity. 

  • Increase of the mandatory rate of rapid testing on a weekly basis to 50% of employees. It is understood that businesses/services that will have a physical presence of up to five (5) persons, testing is mandatory for all five persons. 

  • The operation of all restaurants (restaurants, tavernas, cafes, beer bars, snack bars and bars, cafeterias and dining areas in shopping centres, canteens and/or sports clubs, cultural centres, clubs, unions, etc.) is suspended, with the exception of the services related to delivery and take away. It is understood that after 9 p.m. only home delivery is allowed.

  • The operation of open and closed theatres, amphitheatres, cinemas and event venues is suspended. 

  • The operation of retailers, other than retailers of beverages and food, or sales of essentials as defined in the Decree, is suspended. 

  • The operation of gyms, dance schools and other sports schools is suspended. Personal training is allowed in open spaces, where access is allowed on the basis of the Decree with a maximum number of two persons present. 

  • The operation of gambling and betting shops is suspended. 

  • The operation of barber shops, hair salons and beauty institutes is suspended. 

  • All group tutorials, as well as sports and social activities for children under the age of 18 are prohibited. It is understood that distance learning and teaching with a physical presence of up to two persons, including the teacher/trainer (1+ 1) are permitted. 

As of May 10, 2021, the above measures are lifted and the arrangements in force are reinstated, provided that in places where there is a gathering (dining areas, meeting places, gyms, retail shops, theatres, etc.), the visitor should carry a rapid test or PCR valid for 72 hours or have been vaccinated with at least the 1st dose of the vaccine three weeks before or to have been infected by the Covid-19 during the last three months. The adoption of the above regulation will allow for easier and safer movement and return to normality. 

 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the government has set only one goal; save lives and be able to offer high-level medical care to anyone who needs it. We are at a particularly difficult stage in this pandemic. The number of cases and the positive rate are above the threshold, hospitalizations are increasing and the Health System is under pressure. The State Health Services Organization has activated a plan to provide more beds in public hospitals with the assistance of the private sector, where other incidents are referred, but we cannot remain indifferent to the continued increase in cases in the community. The epidemiological data are burdened by the British virus mutation, which is observed at a very high rate and contributes to an increase in positive cases especially among younger ages. The only way to stop the aggressive transmission caused by mutated strains is vaccination. To this end, we have accelerated the rate of vaccination coverage, taking into account the rapid shielding of a larger percentage of the population, at least with the 1st dose of the vaccine. 

A key component for improving epidemiological indicators is the faithful implementation of personal, social and professional protection measures. All citizens should be vaccinated without any hesitation or delay.  Vaccination and compliance with the measures by each individual, responsibly and in a disciplined manner, will give us our lives back.  We call upon all citizens to cooperate, so that we can succeed in this effort. The imposition of these measures, is necessary to bring us to the end of this ordeal. 

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