Cyprus Mail

Ministry prepares Covid-19 draft plan for months ahead

Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela
Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela

The health ministry has prepared a draft plan which details how the state will handle Covid-19 in the months ahead, such as the protocol at schools.

The plan is expected to be published by the end of the month and prior to the beginning of the school year, so that parents and students will know what the face mask and test requirements, if any, would be.

The ministry’s draft plan would be sent on for review by other stakeholders such as the state health services organisation (Okypy), CyBC reported on Tuesday morning.

It will then be sent to the scientific advisory committee for evaluation and for further suggestions to be made. After that, it will be handed over to health minister Michalis Hadjipantela – who will then meet advisory team for final input.

Previous reports indicated that mandatory mask for students is seen as highly likely, although there is some uncertainty as to whether younger primary school students will also be included.

In late July, Hadjipantela said there were thoughts of ‘multiple testing’ – a single test detecting the coronavirus as well as other viruses.

“This is so that we know how many viruses are circulating at any given time.”

It would allow for targeted responses to diseases, rather than “acting blindly,” he added.

Depending on what variant of the coronavirus is prevalent by autumn, and the epidemiological situation then, authorities will decide when it would be safe for schools to open and under what conditions.

The European Commission has advised EU member states to prepare their individual Covid-related road maps in anticipation of autumn.

It is worth noting that the influential US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will no longer recommend quarantines or test-to-stay programmes at schools or daycare centers for people exposed to Covid, the agency said in updated guidelines last Thursday.

The CDC’s school guidance also removed recommendations to keep children in cohorts in order to reduce the likelihood of Covid exposure.

While the agency removed its test-to-stay recommendations for schools, it did say schools could consider implementing screening for Covid for high-risk activities like close contact sports or at key times of the year.

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