The government on Friday announced a series of measures aiming to further promote vaccinations against Covid-19, including the restoration of SafePass, incentives for vaccinations and the termination of free rapid antigen test as of August 1.
“We mainly address young people and we call on them to consider the magnitude of their responsibility, primarily to protect themselves and then their families, their parents, their grandparents and the society as a whole,” Michalis Hadjipantelas, the new Minister of Health said announcing the decisions taken by the Council of Ministers.
“Our aim is to open the gate for our freedom and we ask the young people to make the first step,” he added.
The first pillar which concerns incentives to encourage vaccinations, includes a vacation allowance for vaccinated persons from July 15 to 31 August. Further details will be announced by the Deputy Ministry for Tourism, Hadjipantelas said.
Soldiers who received their jab or will be vaccinated until August 21 will receive a five-day leave, while employees of both the public and the private sector will be given a day off from work for each day they receive a vaccination dose. The same applies for parents/guardians if they escort their minors for their vaccinations.
The second pillar concerns measures to encourage vaccinations in the age group of 18 – 30 years. For this reason, the Minister of Health has been authorized to engage to consultations with public and private sector organisations on measures to promote vaccinations. Hadjipantelas after the consultation is completed, he will present the measures to the Council of Ministers for approval.
The third pillar includes stricter measures in areas of increased congestion. As from July 9, SafePass will be necessary both indoors and outdoors in areas where more than 20 people are gathered (such as workplaces, bars, nightclubs, weddings, graduation parties, birthdays etc). In case of negative rapid or PCR test the certificate should have a 72-hour duration.
From July 9 to July 20 football fans who received both jab doses or have received their first dose three weeks before, hold a 72-hour negative or PCR test or were infected with Covid in the last six months will be allowed to enter the stadiums which will operate at 50% capacity. The same applies for cinemas, theatres and concerts.
As from July 21, capacity for football stadiums, theatres and concerts will increase to 75% with access given to persons who completed their vaccination scheme or have received their first dose three weeks before, hold a 72-hour negative or PCR test or were infected with Covid in the last six months.
Hadjipantelas added that from August 21 Cypriots and Cyprus permanent residents returning to Cyprus should follow the same protocols applying to all passengers unless they have received the first dose of vaccination. He added that only persons who received the first vaccine dose will be entitled for a PCR test upon arrival to Cyprus.
He explained that Cypriots or permanent residents returning to Cyprus from countries classified in the red and orange list and have not received their first vaccine dose, will be required to present a 72-hour negative PCR test before their arrival. Persons aged 12 – 15 and persons over 16 years with serious health problems not eligible for vaccination will be exempted.
The fourth pillar concerns intensifying the awareness campaign for vaccinations focusing on youth, while the firth pillar includes stricter checks for compliance to safety protocols and guidelines.
In addition, the Minister said the Council of Ministers decided to terminate the free rapid antigen test programme from August 1.
Persons between 12 – 15 years as well as persons over 16 years with serious health problems not eligible for vaccinations will be exempted, Hadjipantelas said.