The announcement of new emergency measures was made yesterday, Wednesday, December 29, by the Minister of Health, Michalis Hatzipandelas, after the rapid increase of positive Covid-19 cases.

Specifically, from today, December 30, the following come into force:

• Entry to entertainment centres, music and dance centres, banquets, weddings, baptisms will be allowed only with the additional submission of a negative 24-hour Rapid test. It is reminded that entry is allowed only to vaccinated persons. Citizens who received the booster/3rd dose of the vaccine are excluded.

• From December 30th, 2021, the seating of a maximum of 300 people for restaurants, entertainment centers and music and dance centers in compliance with health protocols and the maximum number of people per square meter in force. Citizens should be seated, while dancing is prohibited. It is clarified that the measure for weddings and baptisms will be implemented from January 3rd, 2022.

• From December 30th, 2021, the presence of fans in stadiums will be at 50% of the capacity of the stadiums, with the mandatory use of a face mask. In case it is found after an inspection that the protection measures are not observed, the competent authorities will be able to revoke its operating license.

• As of December 30th, 2021, the ban on all visits to public and private hospitals and closed structures, unless approved by the management after a negative 24-hour PCR laboratory test for emergencies and only exceptional cases. For visits to outpatient clinics of patients and attendants, it is required to present a negative 24-hour Rapid test. Excluded are those who have received a booster/3rd dose of vaccine.

• As of December 30th, 2021, change of COVID-19 case management protocols and close contacts for health professionals who have not received any vaccine dose, or received two doses for a dual vaccine or one dose for a single dose vaccine and the period has expired of 7 months and did not receive the booster/3rd dose. Confirmed close case contacts will undergo PCR on day 5 and Rapid test on day 6 with a negative result after contact with case to release the restriction. Positive coronavirus cases are entitled to undergo a Rapid test on the 6th and 7th day and if the result is negative to be released on the 8th day, provided that they do not show symptoms for a period of 48 hours (The decision concerns doctors, nurses and medical staff).

In addition, the Council of Ministers decided the following with effect from 3rd and 4th January respectively,

• With effect from 4th January until 15th January 2022, all passengers arriving in the Republic of Cyprus are required to have undergone a PCR laboratory examination 48 hours before departure. It is reminded that upon arrival all passengers, regardless of  vaccination history, undergo a PCR laboratory test and the cost will be borne by the passenger.

• From January 3rd, 2022, teleworking for 40% of the staff of each company or organisation in the service sector. It is clarified that this percentage includes people who due to illness or declaration as close contact with a confirmed case are self-restricted and work from home and people who have used their rest leave. Clarifications will be given tomorrow on the essential services that will be excluded.

The following are also recommended:

– As citizens use a double surgical mask or a high protection mask. (eg type KN95 or type FFP2).

– Avoid using a fabric face mask.

It is reminded that the use of a protective face mask in all areas, indoors and outdoors is mandatory.

– Distance education and online examinations in higher education.