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21-08-2020 14:01

Decisions of the Council of Ministers for the management of the coronavirus pandemic

At its meeting today chaired by the President of the Republic, the Council of Ministers was briefed by the Minister of Health, Mr Constantinos Ioannou, on the teleconference with the members of the Advisory Scientific Committee held on 19 August 2020, in which the epidemiological data of the last days were examined along with measures for better controlling the coronavirus pandemic.

The President of the Republic and the members of the Council of Ministers, having examined the suggestions by the Minister of Health for the management of the pandemic, decided the following, to be implemented across the whole of Cyprus taking effect by the issue of a Decree valid until 15 January 2021:

1.    Maximum number of persons at private gatherings: The maximum number of persons at private gatherings in houses and other mass assembly areas is set at 50. Defined as private gatherings are, for example, private parties, birthday parties, beach parties, etc.

2.    Maximum number of persons at weddings/christenings: The maximum number of persons (physical presence at dinner) who may attend weddings or christenings is set at 350.  As regards the well-wishing ceremony at a reception, the flow of persons must not exceed 250 per hour, while the guidelines of the relevant Protocol must be observed throughout. Provided, at the same time, that during the performance of the wedding or christening in churches/religious places, the instructions of the current Protocol are implemented.

3.    Maximum number of persons in catering areas: The maximum number of persons in catering areas, which are allowed to function on the basis of Decree No.28, remains the same, that is, 150 persons indoors and 250 persons outdoors. Provided that the maximum number is calculated on the basis of the open air area with one person per 2 sq. m. excepting the workers. The maximum number of persons in indoor areas is one person per 3 sq.m., regardless of the square metre area of each establishment, in accordance with the relevant Protocol. It is also recalled that the public must exclusively be served at table arrangements and that the direct service of customers at the bar is forbidden.

4.    Organising/Holding of fairs, festivals, exhibitions, concerts: The organizing of fairs, festivals, exhibitions and concerts in places such as stadiums, churchyards, and so forth, is banned. It is understood that the organizing of concerts and theatrical performances at open air amphitheatres, provided that the spectators are seated and the relevant Protocol is strictly adhered to as regards distancing, the maximum number of persons, ticket selling, etc.

5.    Organizing of conferences/general meetings: The holding of conferences, general meetings or other similar assemblies, is permissible, provided that the organizers apply the protocols in force according to the venue, as well as the measures concerning the maximum number of participants, distancing among the delegates, etc. It should be noted that in case coffee/snacks/cocktails are offered in the course of a conference, the maximum number of persons, that is 50 each time, should be observed.

6.    Population intervention in 5.000 persons every 2 weeks: The Council of Ministers approved a proposal by the Minister of Health for conducting a population intervention through the laboratory testing of 5.000 persons in areas with a large crowding of people (e.g. bars, restaurants, malls, universities, and so forth), to be repeated every two weeks with the aim of recording the epidemiological picture in the community.  The first 5.000 tests will target young persons, 18-40 years of age, outside catering places, bars, etc., since random tests have shown that most COVID-19 cases detected recently are persons belonging to the specific age group.

7.    Recommendations for work places: On instructions by the Minister of Health, an ad hoc committee has been set up with the participation of members of the Scientific Advisory Committee, which will draw up recommendations for the work places, in addition to the existing protocols, for the upgrading of which instructions have already been given.

8.    Random checks in schools, in the State Health Services Organization, in old people’s homes and other indoor shelters: The conduct of random checks is recommended for school workers and students, health professionals and the remaining personnel of public hospitals, as well as for workers and inmates of old people’s homes and other indoor shelters, in cooperation with the competent Ministries and Services. Priority will be given to persons returning from holidays and trips, in an effort to minimize the risk of having outbreaks in such places. More details on these programmes will be announced in due course.

9.    Repeat of laboratory test by travellers: Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases among people who travelled abroad and are tested positive to the virus some days after their journey, people returning from a trip are urged to repeat privately the laboratory examination 7 days after their return, even if they have submitted to a laboratory test at the airport with a negative result. Provided that people who show symptoms (coughing, fever, breathing difficulty, loss of the senses of taste or smell) before 7 days have lapsed, are obliged to contact immediately their Personal Doctor and follow his instructions.

(EK)