Testing and self-isolating protocols for those identified as close contacts have only changed for medical professionals, and not the public, the health ministry confirmed on Thursday.

In addition to other measures, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas announced some changes to the protocol on handling confirmed cases and their close contacts among health professionals who have not been vaccinated or who did not get a booster jab seven months after their second dose.

Close contacts will have to get a PCR test on the fifth day and a rapid test on the sixth day with negative results after their contact with the coronavirus case to be released from self-isolation. Positive coronavirus cases can undergo rapid tests on the sixth and seventh days and if the result is negative, to be released on the eighth day if they do not show symptoms for a period of 48 hours.

This decision concerns doctors, nurses and medical staff, and according to ministry spokesman Konstantinos Athanasiou it was made to allow these professionals to return to work earlier.

At the same time, Athanasiou told the Cyprus Mail that the rules for members of the public have not changed and can all be found in a document sent (in Greek) to all identified close contacts.

Each person identified as a close contact of a confirmed case will be entitled to a free PCR test, but the rules differ depending on vaccination status.

Starting with the unvaccinated, the ministry specifies that they will have to take the provided PCR test and enter mandatory self-isolation for 14 days upon contact.

They can exit self-isolation on the seventh day only if a second PCR test, taken at their own expense, comes back negative.

The same rules apply for the fully vaccinated (with two doses or one dose for single-dose vaccines) who have not gotten their booster jab seven months after their vaccination was complete.

Contacts who contracted and recovered from the virus 90 days prior are not obliged to self-isolate, but must take the provided PCR test.

The ministry also suggests that they take a rapid antigen test every 48 hours elapsing, and a second PCR test that they will pay for themselves on day seven.

The same stands for those who were fully vaccinated less than seven months prior.

Similarly, contacts who got their booster shots will not have to self-isolate but must take the provided PCR test. No other suggestions were made by the health ministry.

This counts from the day they take their booster.