The Council of Ministers, decided new measures on Wednesday to contain the spread of COVID-19 which will come into effect from 28th January.

The Cabinet decided to make amendments regarding the protocol followed for close contacts, to extend the application of the test-to-stay measure to professional groups and for weekly testing for children 2-5.

In its decisions, the Cabinet decided to replace testing with PCR on the 7th day for contacts of positive cases with Rapid Tests, provided they self-isolate for 10 days. Contacts will be released before the end of the ten-day period, provided their rapid test is negative on the 7th day from contact with the positive case. The decision comes into effect on 28 January. All expenses will be borne by the contact.

Excluded from the decision are health professionals working in private or state hospitals, nursing homes, and closed structures.

Regarding the implementation of test-to-stay at schools, the Cabinet decided that students who are closed contacts can also opt for a Rapid Test instead of a PCR for release on the 7th day.

The students can undergo Rapid Tests at the sampling points announced daily by the Ministry of Health and operating in school units.

The test-to-stay measure is extended to health professionals from the private and state sectors, the Police and the Fire Service. The date of implementation will be announced in the coming days and after consultation between competent authorities and services.

The cabinet has also recommended that children aged 2-5 attending kindergarten and pre-primary schools take Rapid Tests once a week at the ministry of Health centers.

All measures will be valid until 17th February.

In a press release, the Ministry of Health said that in the last few days the epidemiological indicators have been exhibiting a steady course and the number of daily cases has been decreasing.

However, no complacency is acceptable, it said, adding everyone needs to exhibit constant vigilance and faithfully adhere to health protocols.

According to data provided by the Epidemiological Surveillance Unit of the Ministry of Health, from 15 -21 January 2022, 13,997 positive cases were recorded within the community, with a decrease in all age groups.

It said the Ministry of Health is on constant alert and is evaluating all scientific and epidemiological data together with the Scientific Advisory Committee with the aim to protect and defend the health of all citizens.

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