By mid-June up to 550 thousand people will be vaccinated in Cyprus, achieving immunity for 70% of the population, Minister of Health Constantinos Ioannou said on Thursday, adding that by the end of April about 350 thousand people will have been vaccinated.
Ioannou spoke about the government`s vaccination plans at a press conference during which decisions to gradually ease measures in place to contain the spread of COVID-19 were announced. He stressed however that until mid-April all protective measures and protocols in place should be upheld, noting that the government’s position remains that “we are moving forward slowly and steadily with any de-escalation” of measures.
Referring to the possibility of tourist arrivals in Cyprus of people who have been vaccinated and reports in the press that Israelis are interested to spend their Easter holidays in the country, Ioannou said that a relevant agreement which has been signed with Israel will be in place from April 1st.
Measures in place for passengers arriving in Cyprus airports, he noted, will continue to be in place, noting that “right now no-one arriving at the airport does not possess a negative PCR test.”
Asked whether Cyprus is among countries Israel would be sending a quantity of vaccines, he said there is no such information until now.
Ioannou also said that from March 1st the categories announced by the ECDC for EU countries will be in place, adding that random testing will be carried out on all flights arriving in Cyprus even from the “Green” category.
Referring to arrivals from third countries, he said that they are being reviewed on the same basis as before and depending on their epidemiological situation they may have to be quarantined until April 1st.
“From the beginning of the pandemic we are taking all necessary measures in the airports, we have the strictest measures in airports in relation to all other EU countries,” he said.
Referring to positive coronavirus samples sent to the ECDC to be tested for the presence of variant strains, Ioannou said that out of the 83 positive samples which have been tested so far, the British variant was detected in 28, that is to say approximately in one in three people.
Replying to a question on the mass gatherings and demonstrations the Minister of Health said that no change has been decided on this matter, while asked whether there are thoughts of opening the hotel industry, he said that no one can predict how the epidemiological picture will evolve. His reply to a question on the number of people allowed to go to church, the cinema and the theatre was similar.
As he pointed out, “we review, we decide and we move forward.” Right now, he added, with the data we have before us and experts’ recommendations we are going ahead with easing the measures announced, noting that he has also referred to plans for what will take place after March 16.
He clarified however that “what will follow after March 16 has still not been reviewed.”