Working from home, increased vaccine uptake, reduced Christmas gatherings, and a vaguely outlined policy of self-testing are among measures being discussed to curb a spike in coronavirus cases, with even harsher talk of boosters required for a valid SafePass also being floated.

The government’s team of experts have been asked to submit suggestions ahead of Monday’s meeting with Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas in a bid to keep the outbreak under control.

This is certainly not where most thought we’d be some 11 months from the rollout of vaccines, with talk also of possible lockdowns, and in some European countries – partial lockdowns being enforced.

Local media quoted Hadjipantelas as saying that some advisors are pushing for a booster – a third dose of the vaccine – being a requirement for a valid SafePass.

He was asked about the hesitation in other EU countries to push forward with such a policy, considering the EMA and other institutions have not yet advocated the move.

“Cyprus at some points took decisions which were not based on the European Commission, therefore if we decide to do it, then no one will stop us,” he said.

Notably, France already announced that from mid-December those aged 65 and older will need proof of a booster shot to have valid pass.

Greece will also be requiring booster shots for people over 60, seven months after completion of their vaccination, prime minister Constantinos Mitsotakis announced late on Thursday.

Hadjipantelas added that if the scientists, in Cyprus, propose such a policy – and some will, he said – then the ministry will seriously consider it.

But that’s a sharp departure from what Hadjipantelas said on Monday: “The majority [of the advisers] also said there should be no additional measures”.

“We will stop the surge first of all if we do the self-evident and adhere to the protocols, if we keep a distance, wear masks, ventilate our spaces,” the minister said, when asked whether the meeting had discussed ways to curb the rise in cases.

It’s also a marked turn from what Hadjipantelas said on September 3, when he stated that booster shots would be “voluntary” and not impact the validity of a person’s SafePass.

But Tuesday’s 386 Covid-19 infections seemingly spooked the government, with talk of new measures placed firmly on the table and likely to be decided on Monday.

There appears to be a sincere effort to prevent the implementation of measures which will further discriminate between the vaccinated and unvaccinated.

The issue of a person’s vaccine status has re-emerged as a divisive topic, perhaps most notably in Austria where the unvaccinated were placed into lockdown.

Zoe Dorothea-Pana, a lecturer in paediatrics at the European University Cyprus’ School of Medicine, and member the government’s advisory team, told Sigmalive on Friday that there are difficult months ahead.

She was bluntly asked whether there had been a failure in convincing the public to get vaccinated.

“It’s not that simple, vaccination by itself would not 100 per cent end the pandemic, the vaccine is one of the most important tools that we have,” she said, adding that other measures are also necessary – such as masks.

“It’s a core pillar but not the only one… I don’t believe that we failed [in convincing the public to get vaccinated], but what we’re seeing is that immunity from the vaccine is waning,” she said.

Asked about the necessity of new measures – as there are some claiming that the current restrictions are not being abided by – she said that understandably the public is fatigued.

“Across the globe people want to return to normality as we knew it, and the pandemic will end at some point, but until then there is no other option,” she said.

Pana referenced nations with a very high vaccination coverage which are undergoing surging infection rates as the weather has changed.

Indeed, 85 per cent of Dutch adults have been vaccinated but a partial lockdown has still been introduced.

“It’s not easy to tell at the moment which measures can be adopted, and it must be done in such a way that a balance is held, but as a general concept the measures must be more targeted and not across the board,” Pana stated.

As for self-testing, she said that it could offer an extra level of practicality to daily life as many people continue to go about their day as normal despite having Covid-19 symptoms.

Therefore, she reasoned, self-testing at home – including the vaccinated – before going to work could be an effective means of preventing clusters forming in offices.

“It won’t solve everything but it’s an added tool which would enhance the rest of our measures,” she said.

Asked about potential restrictions being placed on gatherings during the holidays, Pana put the onus on the public to do their bit to prevent a worsening of the epidemiological situation.