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Coronavirus: Cabinet to consider new measures as cases surge

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A ‘work-from-home’ order for 20 per cent of a businesses’ staff is expected to be among the proposals submitted by the health minister to Thursday’s council of ministers meeting.

Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas has also sought the opinion of the attorney general on mandatory vaccinations for certain professional groups.

Government spokesman Marios Pelekanos told state broadcaster CyBC that mandatory vaccination is not a measure which is likely to be taken ‘within the immediate timeframe’ – as the aim is to improve the situation so that such a measure is not necessary.

It is understood that the health ministry approached the attorney general last week to seek its opinion on the issue of mandatory vaccinations for certain professional groups in the public sector such as health workers, police officers and soldiers.

Health ministry spokesman Constantinos Athanasiou also told CyBC that his department will make a decision following the opinion of the legal services.

The council of ministers meeting, which is usually held on Wednesdays, has been moved to Thursday – and takes place in the shadow of Greece announcing mandatory vaccinations for the over 60s.

Greece has already made vaccination mandatory for the health care sector. But it went further on Tuesday as it announced that the over 60s must be vaccinated or face a €100 fine, recurring monthly.

It is also set against the backdrop of Tuesday’s 613 Covid-19 infections, the highest since early August, along with 118 patients being treated for the virus.

Local media also reported that cabinet is also expected to discuss the issue of fully vaccinated individuals who do not take a booster dose within seven months, though a decision is not anticipated to feature in the next decree.

The ministry announced last week that those who have completed their vaccine regimen but do not proceed with a booster dose after seven months will have to provide proof of a Covid-19 test to gain entry into most places, such as bars, cafés and restaurants.

Last week, the EU announced that it will propose a nine-month time limit on vaccination validity for travel into the bloc.

Daily Phileleftheros also reported that amongst the proposals on Thursday will be that Christmas events and gatherings will only be permitted outdoors, and those present must provide proof of a negative test taken within the past 48 hours – regardless of vaccination status.

It also said that the next decree will stipulate that all airport arrivals in Cyprus must undergo PCR tests, while those from cruise or private ships will be subject to either a PCR or rapid test.

It has also been reported that stricter health checks are expected at the crossings between the government-controlled area and the north.

 

 

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