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    Seven new measures to contain Covid-19

    South Cyprus’ Council of Ministers decided on Tuesday, ahead of the festive season, seven new measures aiming to contain the spread of COVID-19. The measures were announced by Health Minister, Michalis Hadjipantelas, who noted that during the last days the number of COVID-19 cases is rising every day and the emergence of the Omicron variant in South Cyprus may cause the deterioration of the epidemiological outlook.

    According to the new measures, schools will reopen on 10 January and upon return, all students, teachers and other staff must have PCR tests of 72 hours or Rapid test of 48 hours.

    Moreover all other provisions of the current Decree are extended until 15 January 2022. As of 22 December all employees who have completed their vaccination program against COVID-19 must have PCR or Rapid test upon going to work. Those who have had the booster shot are exempted. Checks as to whether this measure is implemented will begin on December 29.

    As of 22 December, it is recommended that all citizens who will visit other houses in view of Christmas must have rapid tests. It is reminded that the maximum number of people in houses is 20. Also the validity period of the certificate of COVID-19 illness will be reduced from 6 to 3 months as of 31 January 2022.

    As of 22 December and until 6 January, children 12-17 will need PCR or Rapid test to enter into restaurants, weddings, christenings, theaters hotels and so forth.

    Visitors and employees at daily care structures and other closed structures must follow measures that are in place for old people’s homes.

    In his statements Hadjipantelas said that the percentage of people of all ages who get vaccinated has increased during the last days,  adding that in the last 10 days 8,390 people were administered the first dose, 11,813  the second dose and 71,111 the booster. Moreover he noted that the unanimous decisions of the scientists participating in the Advisory Scientific Committee were presented before the Cabinet.

    Hadjipantelas also confirmed information that dozens of people accommodated in the “Pournara” Reception Centre for immigrants outside Nicosia, were found to be positive for COVID-19. He noted that many of them have already been transferred to Eden Resport, in Tersephanou, while others who are found to be positive or are close contacts will be transferred elsewhere, in coordination with the Minister of the Interior, Nicos Nouris.

    Responding to other questions, Hadjipantels said that efforts are being made to contain the spread of “Omicron” and underlined the need for everyone to show responsibility, carry out self tests and use protective masks.

    He warned that authorities will suspend the operation of businesses and other premises if measures are not observed and clusters are traced.

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