Decisions for the relaxation of measures are set to be reviewed in the next meeting he will have with the Advisory Scientific Committee on COVID-19 on Tuesday February 1, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela has said, noting that any likely relaxations will depend on the number of cases and hospitalisations on the basis of the State Health Services Organisation`s (SHSO) data.
In statements, after having signed the contract for the construction of a Mental Health Centre in Nicosia, Hadjipantela said that "epidemiologists have unanimously agreed that a relaxation of measures will be discussed in the Advisory Scientific Committee`s next meeting," adding that in recent days measures which concern unvaccinated minors aged 12 to 17 and the possibility of allowing them to visit establishments providing food and drink services with a negative rapid test or a safepass have been discussed.
He added that during the next meeting he will have with experts they will also discuss whether to increase the number of people allowed to attend weddings or baptisms as well as whether dancing should be allowed.
"These possible relaxations will depend on the number of cases but also the hospitalisations on the basis of the SHSO reports," he noted.
Referring to a case of a three year-old patient who cannot travel abroad to be treated because the parents are not vaccinated and will not be allowed in the country of treatment, he expressed his dissatisfaction.
"I would like to say that I am very sorry for this fact, that is to say that a young child is not able to receive treatment abroad and in particular in Germany because the child`s parents are unvaccinated," he said. He added that the Ministry of Health respects the measures in place in other countries and that all necessary possible steps were taken.
On the implementation of the "test to stay" measure in schools, which allows for close contacts of confirmed cases to go to school if they test negative for COVID-19, the Minister of Health said that today over 2,000 children who were tested and were negative are in their classroom instead of being home.
"At the same time, instead of being home to look after their children, their parents are at work," he added.
The Ministry`s goal to have children at school has been achieved, Hadjipantela noted.
He acknowledged that a small number of problems have arisen, adding however that this is natural and that these will be reviewed at a later meeting.
Asked when the government will hold consultations with the police, the fire service and the SHSO on the extension of the "test to stay" measure there, he said that that they will begin immediately.
Replying to another question on the number of deaths and post-COVID patients in hospital, Hadjipantela pointed out that the Health Ministry`s message to people is for them to be vaccinated.
"Most of these deceased are people who are unvaccinated and unfortunately we have this outcome," he said, adding however that at the same time one must not forget that Cyprus is the 4th EU country with the lowest number of deaths.
"We have a very low mortality rate and this is very important," he noted.