Voluntary vaccination of teens 12 and over will start as of Monday, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas announced on Friday after cabinet gave the green light for the inoculation of minors under 16.

The cabinet also decided that the presentation of a SafePass will be required for places where more than 10 people are present, including employees. So far, the measure was for 20 and over.

In addition, the minister said visitors aged 12 and over, staff but also patients will need to present a SafePass to enter state and private hospitals.

For nursing homes and other closed structures, visitors and staff will be required to present either a vaccination certificate, or proof of recovery from Covid-19 within the past 180 days or a negative PCR test certificate not older than 72 hours.

Non-permanent residents entering the Republic must undergo a PCR or rapid antigen test on the seventh day after their arrival. People who have been vaccinated or who have recovered from Covid-19 within the last 180 days are exempt.

Fetes will be allowed near religious places of worship given that all attending present a SafePass, including those working there.

Cabinet also announced that people who have been vaccinated or who have recovered from Covid within the past 180 days will be allowed to free rapid tests.

Hadjipantelas said the vaccination for people aged 12 and over starts on Monday, August 2, with mRNA vaccines (Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna), following the recommendation by the Cyprus Paediatric Society and the Scientific Advisory Committee on coronavirus.

“The vaccination will be voluntary and with the necessary consent of the parents or legal guardians,” he added.

The minister said that already several European Union countries, such as France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania and Greece as of today, they are vaccinating children aged 12 to 15, in an effort to achieve greater protection of the population.

The minister stressed the importance of vaccination, urging people, especially young people, to get vaccinated.

“The only way to protect ourselves from the Delta variant and others that may present is by completing our vaccination regime,” Hadjipantelas said. He said experts from all over the world warn that most at risk are those who are unvaccinated.

The minister said the new measures will be regulated with a decree that will be in force until the end of August.

Further clarifications on some points is expected later.