Health Ministry on Thursday issued clarifications as regards the new measures taken by the Cabinet in an attempt to curb COVID spread, following the constant increase in cases the last weeks.

The Ministry notes that all teachers, students and staff of public and private primary and high schools need to show a 48 hour negative rapid test on their return to class next Monday. Children aged 6 and under are exempted from this rule. Students need to show a negative rapid test twice a week and mobile units will be visiting schools for this purpose.

High school students need to show negative 72 hour rapid test. Students who have concluded their vaccination scheme (2 doses) or have a certificate of infection from COVID the past 180 days, are exempted from this measure.

Staff and teachers of kindergarten and nurseries who return today to schools also need to have a 48 hr negative rapid test.

As of January 6th, persons at home gatherings are limited to 10 from 20 (kids aged up to 12 are not included).

From January 10th there is a limit of 200 persons allowed at food places, night clubs, wedding and christening venues with all measures and protocols followed regarding the maximum capacity per square meter. Eight persons are allowed at each table, people are served only at tables and dancing is not allowed.

A 200 limit is also introduced in churches . People are reminded that they need to wear a face mask indoors and outdoors and keep distances. There is an advice for a double surgical mask (ΚN95 or FFP2 mask) and cloth mask is better not to be used, the Ministry says.

From January 6th, citizens need to show an Identification document along with their safe pass.

A 50% remote working measure is introduced. People who are infected or are close contacts are included in this 50% as they are in quarantine and work from home or make use of their annual leave. Employees who are in vulnerable groups are given priority and this measure does not apply to businesses which employ up to ten people.

All employees who have concluded their vaccination scheme (2 doses or one in case of JJ) or have been infected the past 180 days, need to show negative rapid test once a week. Anyone with a booster shot or 2nd shot in case of JJ vaccine is exempted.

Employees aged 18 and over who have not been administered any dose need to show negative PCR test of 72 hours or a negative rapid of 48 hours.

Vaccinated people or those who have a medical exemption can take a free rapid test at designated spots announced by the Ministry via the testing programme. The same applies for all those who were administered one dose and the time for a second dose has not elapsed.

In case a cluster is detected at a work place, all employees need to undergo a rapid test.

Accommodation at hotels and other tourist lodgings is allowed only to those who have concluded their vaccination scheme or the time for their second and booster shot has not elapsed. This measures comes into effect January 10th. For all those who were administered a 1st dose and the time for their 2nd dose has not elapsed (14 days for one dose shot) they need to show a rapid test which is administered for free.

Another self test kit will be given to anyone who has concluded his/her shot scheme or has an infection certificate. Kids aged 12-17 who have been administered at least one dose and the time has not elapsed for their 2nd, will also be given the kit for free. All those who have not received the first kit are asked to do so by January 20th.

As regards close contacts, no matter if they are vaccinated or not, need to undergo rapid test the 3rd and 5th days since they came into contact with a case. These tests will be free and the procedure will be announced in the next days.

Close contacts with a booster shot don`t have to isolate but need to follow personal hygiene rules (mask, hand washing, distancing, limit contacts, check for symptoms). They are advised to undergo a rapid test the 3rd and 5th day.

Those who were administered 2 doses or one in case of JJ and 7 months have not elapsed from their last shot, do not need to isolate, have to practice self protection and need to take a rapid test the 3rd day for free. A PCR test the 7th day is advised.

All those who were infected in the past and were confirmed via a PCR or rapid and 90 days have not elapsed from the day they exited the isolation, do not need to isolate again but have to take a rapid test the 3rd and 5th day. They are also advised to take a PCR the 7th day.

Anyone who was administered 2 doses (one in case of JJ) and 7 months have elapsed for the booster shot or 2nd (JJ) need to isolate for 14 days. They can exit the isolation on the 7th day with a negative PCR that they need to pay for. They must undergo a rapid test the 3rd and 5th day for free.

Unvaccinated people or anyone who has not been infected before, need to isolate for 14 days and can exit the 7th day with a negative PCR test that they pay for. They must take a rapid test the 3rd and 5th day for free.

Health professionals are exempted and a protocol, announced 29 December 2021, applies for them.

Moreover the Ministry says that from January 6th exits or sleepovers at nursing homes and closed structures are prohibited. Visits to these places is allowed only with a negative PCR and following a permission by the management in urgent cases.

Passengers from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini , Zimbabwe, Mizambique, Malawi and Botswana will no longer have to stay in quarantine as figures show that the Omicron variant is now detected in other countries.

All passengers arriving to Cyprus January 6th onwards, who refuse to undergo a PCR at the airport, will be transported to isolation facilities for 14 days and they will have to pay the cost. They can exit the isolation on the 7th day with a negative PCR which they have to pay for.

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