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Coronavirus: Cabinet expected to ease some restrictions (Updated)

health minister
Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas

The cabinet is expected to approve an ease of Covid restrictions on Friday, including allowing unvaccinated people into sporting events, cinemas, and theatres but no changes in protective mask mandates, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas said.

“There will be a proposal tomorrow for small relaxations. As regards the mask, I think it is a very important protection measure from the coronavirus but also other viruses like influenza, and one of the reasons our country has good results is that we did not abolish it.”

Speaking in parliament, the minister said people would be able to attend sporting events, cinemas, and theatres with negative PCR tests or recovery certificates.

If conditions allow later on, the government may consider letting people in with negative rapid tests.

The cabinet is also expected to approve a rise in the number of people in indoor and outdoor places.

Hadjipantelas said the high vaccination rate contributed to low hospitalisations “but at the same time there should not be any complacency. There are also other factors, schools, and universities, but also the weather. If these factors allow, we will see,” he said about any further easing of measures.

Of vaccine booster shots, the minister said extending them to people under 65 will happen when the experts say so.

Hadjipantelas said the advisory committee will convene in the next few days to discuss the matter and make recommendations to the cabinet.

The minister briefed the House health committee if the ministry’s actions since he took over in June, including pandemic-related but also state hospital and Gesy issues.

Regarding the congestion problem at A&E departments and the subsequent delays in examining patients, the minister said it was down to GPs either not answering their phones or referring people to hospital.

Another reason was that elderly people in care homes went to A&E when they had a problem instead of being examined by their doctor.

He said they were also looking into opening afternoon clinics in a bid to alleviate the problem.

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