The Council of Ministers approved small changes in measures in place to contain the coronavirus pandemic, on Wednesday, including lifting the prohibition of entry in food and drink establishments and theatres to unvaccinated minors between 12 and 17 years of age, and extending the “test to stay” measure to the National Guard. New measures also include changes in the criteria in place for employees of homes for the elderly and a reduction to five months in the time which should elapse before people receive their booster vaccine.

During the Cabinet`s meeting, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela presented the proposals of the members of the Scientific Advisory Committee which were discussed at a meeting yesterday, during which the contact tracing team`s data, the state hospitals figures and the rate of vaccination coverage were analysed and reviewed, a Health Ministry press release says.

According to the Epidemiological Surveillance Unit`s data, between 22 and 28 January 2022, 15,494 positive cases were recorded in the community and a daily increase of cases is present in all age groups, apart from the 50 – 69 age group, it adds.

The Ministry reiterates an appeal to citizens to be responsible and to follow to the letter health protocols.

It is further noted that the Ministry continues to be vigilant at all times and to review all scientific and/ or epidemiological data together with the Advisory Scientific Committee.

In particular, the Cabinet decided that from February 4 onward an entry prohibition to food and drink establishments, cafeterias and theatres for unvaccinated children aged 12-17 will be lifted.

“Entry to these establishments will be allowed with a 72 hour negative PCR or rapid test, as long as they are accompanied by a fully vaccinated parent or guardian,” the press release says.

From February 4, onward people will also be allowed to have their booster vaccine dose administered provided that five months have passed since their last vaccine dose, instead of 5 months and two weeks in place until now.

The “test to stay” measure will be introduced to the National Guard, the press release adds. The date of implementation of the measure will be announced following consultation with the Defence Ministry, it says.

At the same time, from February 4 onward, employees in homes for the elderly and closed structures who are vaccinated will have to present a 72 hour negative PCR or rapid test and employees who are not vaccinated will have to present a 24 hour negative PCR or rapid test.

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