Cyprus tightens COVID-19 restrictions on access to public venues

2021-07-30 14:05:57 GMT2021-07-30 22:05:57(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

NICOSIA, July 30 (Xinhua) -- The Health Ministry of Cyprus has drastically extended the country's COVID-19 restrictions on access to public venues in an attempt to arrest the spread of coronavirus infections, Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas said here on Friday.

From Monday, Aug. 2, people aged 12 and over will be obliged to present a SafePass before entering public offices, hospitals and shops where ten or more people are present, including employees.

A SafePass proves that the bearer has received both doses of a licensed vaccine, or has been infected with coronavirus in the past six months and has recovered, or holds a negative COVID-19 test.

Under the rules currently in force, people aged over 16 and holding a SafePass can enter public offices and private venues where over 20 people are present.

The new regulations will remain in force until the end of August.

Voluntary vaccination of people above the age of 12 will start next Monday. They will be offered an mRNA-based vaccine (Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna).

To date, just above 70 percent of the population have received the first vaccine dose and 60 percent both doses.

Hadjipantelas also said that non-permanent residents of Cyprus will have to take a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test or a rapid antigen test on the seventh day after their arrival, unless they hold a certificate of vaccination or have recovered from coronavirus in the past six months.

Free rapid COVID-19 antigen tests will not be available in the country after Aug. 1.

The epidemiological situation in Cyprus has worsened in July, with the infection rate reaching 1,403 per 100,000 people in the past two weeks.

Between July 13 and July 26, Cyprus exceeded almost threefold the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control's (ECDC) 's criteria of 'dark red', which is 500 or more cases per 100,000 people.

The number of new coronavirus cases has dropped in recent days to between 600 and 700 per day. Enditem