The government is set to finalise its Covid roadmap next week as the health ministry is concerned that Cyprus is set for a difficult autumn and winter period.

Speaking to CNA, the communication advisor to the health ministry, Konstantinos Athanasiou, said that the messages emanating from European organisations are that there are tough months ahead – but did not provide further details.

Parts of the draft version were explained last week, in which it was stated that pupils aged 12 and above will be subject to the indoor mask mandate – while a negative 48-hour rapid test on the first day of school is also in the plan.

“We will continue, as will the members of the Covid advisory committee, to take measures so as to avoid any outbreaks,” Athanasiou said.

He added that the final roadmap will be ready by August 30 and will lay out the Covid protocols for the months ahead – such as the reopening of schools and the population-wide epidemiological surveillance system which includes testing.

Athanasiou explained that by Friday the members of the Covid advisory committee will have submitted their suggestions and next Tuesday a meeting will be chaired.

There will also be a meeting held between the health ministry and the vaccination committee on how to promote further vaccinations. The final plan will eventually be put to cabinet for approval.

The health ministry’s communications advisor said that the excess mortality monitoring network shows that Cyprus has the fifth lowest excess mortality for the pandemic.

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

Earlier this week, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakidou said in an interview for the Financial Times that EU member states are preparing for an expected increase in Covid cases in the upcoming months.

She emphasised the need to strengthen the rate of vaccinations, saying that “there is no time to lose”.