To what degree Covid-19 restrictions will be loosened is set to be the central issue on Tuesday as government advisors hold their weekly meeting against a backdrop of other countries scrapping health passes altogether, but some advisors appear to be hesitant.
The nurses’ branch of the Isotita trade union on Monday called for the gradual and eventually full scrapping of Covid-19 restrictions, referencing other European countries which have recently done so.
England, Ireland and Denmark are among countries lifting all domestic restrictions, including health passes – despite a high number of recorded infections.
The nurses specifically stated that the 48-hour rapid test requirement is excessive, questioning the measure as since its enforcement the number of recorded infections have only increased.
But the current mood among the health ministry and its advisers appears to be against major departures from the current course.
Other members of the government’s scientific advisory team on Covid-19 are more optimistic, with one saying that lifting restrictions on unvaccinated adults will be discussed – although it was not immediately clear how far this would go.
It has been proposed that 12-18-year-olds who remain unjabbed may no longer be barred from most public venues, such as bars, cafés and restaurants. They would, however, still be subject to 24-hour Covid-19 tests should they wish to enter such areas.
Epidemiologist Michalis Voniatis told state broadcaster CyBC that the pandemic indicators show a decrease in cases but more importantly, a decrease in hospitalisations and that the overall picture in Cyprus is good.
But another government adviser, pediatrics lecturer at European University Cyprus Zoi Dorothea Pana is erring on the side of caution, urging against “hasty” moves to lift the restrictions.
She told CNA on Sunday that “the balance by which we are keeping society open should not be disturbed”, but on Monday added that the measures could be simplified – although this could be done gradually.
She said discussions on possible relaxations should take into account the fact that “we are still amid a pandemic wave with consistently increased inpatient indicators in hospitals”.
Daily Phileleftheros cited health ministry sources as saying that efforts are underway to categorise areas and activities according to their perceived epidemiological risk.
Isotita’s nurses branch also referenced an ongoing challenge to the overall rapid test requirements as decreed by the health ministry.
Specifically, a group of plaintiffs most recently sought temporary relief from Covid-19 restrictions.