Cyprus Mail

Coronavirus: Ministry mulls tests for all at high-risk venues (Update 2)

rapid test σε Δημοτικά Σχολεία rapid antigen te

Tests for all – regardless of vaccination status – at areas deemed at high risk of Covid-19 transmission may be in the pipeline as the health ministry seeks to overhaul the SafePass.

A government advisor confirmed to the Cyprus Mail that the SafePass overhaul is set to be completed on Monday, with attempts to make the restrictions clearer and easier to understand.

There will likely be three categories: low risk, medium risk and high risk, although nothing is certain yet as to which activities and areas will be placed where.

For example, the Cyprus Mail was told that places such as supermarkets and bakeries may be exempt from the SafePass requirement, and that nightclubs and bars will have the strictest protocols: mandated Covid-19 tests for all.

There has been speculation elsewhere that wedding venues will also be included in the “high-risk” category, but the advisor said that that would be too harsh on the vaccinated. The advisor also offered that bars would be in the “high-risk” list but reports by other figures have not yet indicated such a move.

The ban on dancing is set to be lifted but the specific protocols have not yet been outlined, as discussions are underway between the ministry and the entertainment sector as to how the policy can go forward.

It is understood that everyone entering such venues – regardless of their vaccination status – would have to undergo a rapid test, but there has been confusion already as to how this will be carried out.

Some have claimed that test units may be set up outside the venues to ensure that the tests carried out are indeed valid and the person’s SafePass is legitimate.

It is not immediately clear, for example, whether both the unvaccinated and the unvaccinated will have to pay for their Covid-19 tests or whether there will be preferential treatment as is currently the case.

Another concern from some amongst the entertainment sector is whether they will have to pay for test units to be setup near their premises, if such a proposal does go forward.

Speaking to the CyBC, chairman of the Nightclub Association Nicos Vasiliou said he understands that Health Ministry crews would be posted outside establishments to carry out rapid tests.

Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas on Thursday declined to offer details but confirmed that changes are underway, as are discussions with the entertainment industry. He said the protocols will be ready by Monday, following a scheduled meeting with the covid advisory team to discuss mulled relaxations.

Asked if the obligation for a 24-hour test for the unvaccinated will change and if new conditions will be put in effect for vaccinated citizens, the minister said these issues are being discussed and some time is needed for announcements to be made. He said he has listened to the views of the owners of nightclubs and other establishments.




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