Policy responses for Cyprus - HSRM

Cyprus


Policy responses for Cyprus

5. Governance

5.1 Governance

The GOVERNANCE of the health system with regard to COVID-19 relates to pandemic response plans and the steering of the health system to ensure its continued functioning. It includes emergency response mechanisms, as well as how information is being communicated, and the regulation of health service provision to patients affected by the virus.

Update 18th May 2021

Four more new Decrees were issued by the Minister of Health, under the Infectious Diseases Law. Due to the imperative urgency arising from the epidemiological data for the protection of public health, for coping with the spread of Coronavirus and taking into consideration that despite the measures taken from 31 March 2021 to 21 April 2021 the epidemiological state was worsening, new stricter measures were implemented (for more details on measures see Preventing transmission/Physical distancing section). On May 8th after considering the downward trend of the positivity rate, the increased vaccination coverage and the ever-decreasing number of hospitalised cases, the Council of Ministers decided for the gradual lifting of those measures.

The Minister of Health and other members of government, as well as representatives from the Scientific Advisory Committee, the MoH and the State Health Services Organization continued their statements regarding the pandemic, the epidemiological data and the hospitals situation.

Sources:

https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/16042021_DECREE-pdf
https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/23042021_PIO.pdf
https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/08052021_PIO EN.pdf
https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/18042021_Proedrossiskepsi.pdf, https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/20042021_kivernitikos.pdf, https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/23042021_diefkriniseisgiaapofaseis_pdf, https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/07052021_sentonasdilosi.pdf, https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/06052021_DilosiYpYgeiasEN.pdf, https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/14052021_ypygeiasdilosiEN.pdf

Update 1st April 2021

On March 12th and 31st 2021, the Minister of Health issued new Decrees under the Infectious Diseases Law, related to the introduction of prevention measures and the lifting of a number of other prevention measures (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/12032021_DECREE%20No%2011%20EN.pdf).

The Minister of Health once more explained the rationale behind the measures regarding the pandemic and provided information related to the most recent epidemiological data and additional relevant information communicated through members of the Scientific Advisory Committee, the MoH and the Administration of the State Health Services Organization on the current situation (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/12032021_YpYgeiasdilosiEN.pdf).

Update 31st December 2020

Due to the deteriorating epidemiological conditions and with the aim of protecting public health, four additional Decrees were issued in December 2020, under the Infectious Diseases Law, containing stronger measures (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/21%2012%202020_DECREE_ENGL.pdf, https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/10122020_decree_en.pdf, https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/5413%204%2012%202020%20PARARTIMA%203o%20MEROS%20I.pdf).

Although briefings on the current situation of the pandemic and the pressure exerted on the Health System continue to take place on a daily basis, the emphasis has started to shift on vaccines and the implementation of the vaccination programme (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/09122020_dilosiYpYgeiasgianeametra.pdf).

Update 15th November 2020

The Minister of Health, issued new stricter Decrees (67th and 68th) to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/4112020_DecreeHealthMinister_ENGL.pdf, https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/12112020_DecreeHealthMinister.pdf).

All important decisions were taken following assessment of the changing epidemiological indicators, the guidelines issued by the WHO and the ECDC, and are based primarily on the evaluation of the social and psychological impact the measures will have on the members of the public as well as the situation, the possibilities and the plans that exist in the Health System (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/4112020_TelevisedaddressbyPoR.pdf, https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/9112020_ankyvernitikosgiasyskepfiproedrou.pdf).

The response to the 2nd wave of the pandemic was examined by the President of the Republic with the Ministerial Cabinet and in coordination with the Scientific Advisory Committee (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/9112020_ankyvernitikosgiasyskepfiproedrou.pdf,
https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/10112020_koushosmeetingproedrou.pdf
).

Briefings from the President of the Republic, Government representatives and the Minister of Health took place almost daily during the last week. Information is also communicated through members of the Scientific Advisory Committee and the Administration of the State Health Services Organization on the current situation (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/06112020_sinentefxitypouepistimonikiomada.pdf and https://bit.ly/3nB8Fbu).

Update 18th October 2020

As result of the recent worsening of the spread of the virus the Minister of Health, exercising his power conferred on him by the Infection Protection Law, continued to issue new Decrees (62-64) to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/dia_n3.pdf, https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/dia_n_2.pdf, https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/d910.pdf,https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/diat/62.pdf). As evidenced by the data collected by the Epidemiological Surveillance Unit, many of the chains have as starting point social gatherings and events, such as weddings and private parties (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/17102020_odigiesgiaepafes.pdf).

Moreover, and due to the recent increase of outbreaks, the Minister of Health had several press conferences and meetings with members of the Scientific Advisory Committee and other stakeholders in order to discuss the recent developments and to seek for their even closer collaboration (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/08102020_2.pdf, https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/07102020_2.pdf, https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/13102020_ypygeiasdilosi.pdf, https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/16102020_4.pdf).

On October 16th the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth gave a press conference about the need to strengthen the preventive measures. The Minister with the Advisory Committee and in cooperation with the Ministry of Health announced that extra attention should be paid in three specific areas: the extracurricular activities of students, the surveillance for the implementation of protection measures in schools, and the transportation of students (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/16102020_5yppaideias.pdf).

On October 17th a meeting was held at the Presidential Palace, chaired by the President of the Republic and attended by the inter-ministerial committee and the Advisory Scientific Committee, where it was decided stricter measures needed to be taken at national level with the aim of halting the infections and its spread within the community. For more details see section of 1.2 Physical distancing. (https://www.pio.gov.cy/%CE%B1%CE%BD%CE%B1%CE%BA%CE%BF%CE%B9%CE%BD%CF%89%CE%B8%CE%AD%CE%BD%CF%84%CE%B1-%CE%AC%CF%81%CE%B8%CF%81%CE%BF.html?id=16313#flat, https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/uploads/17102020_ENmetra.pdf).

Update 28th September 2020

Health communication from the MoH is an ongoing process, and intensifies when an increase in positive cases is observed. On September 10th the MoH, taking into account the data recorded by the World Health Organization and the ECDC, with a large number of new COVID-19 cases found in social venues and events of large gatherings, such as bars, restaurants, weddings, concerts, started to discuss how to monitor the implementation of the Decrees and measures in force more effectively (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/16092020_1.pdf). On September 21st the MoH announced an increase in the number of inspections that are carried out by the Health Services for the implementation of the protocols, while reiterating the need for all citizens to be very cautious in their social contacts and to implement the measures of social distancing and personal hygiene (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/21092020_2.pdf).
Moreover, on September 24th the Minister of Health in his written statement, following the increase in positive cases in the district of Larnaca and the implementation of new stricter measures in the district, stressed out that the aim is not to take stricter measures, but to but to comply with the protocols (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/24092020_1.pdf).

New Protocols have been announced with instructions for the prevention of the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which must be followed when scheduling and organising events such as conferences, awards ceremonies, official dinners, corporate dinners, professional gatherings, symposia, corporate events etc (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/en/pdf/ekd1.pdf) as well as during trade fairs and exhibitions (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/en/pdf/ekd2.pdf).

Update 10th September 2020

On September 4th the Minister of Health participated in a teleconference with his European counterparts, where they reviewed the course of the pandemic so far at European level. At the same time, they evaluated the European Vaccine Strategy and the processes carried out in this context (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/4092020_4.pdf).

Τhe Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth released additional instructions to prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2, regarding the reopening of Private Tutoring/Private Training Centers (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/erg67.pdf), as well as a protocol for the reopening of the Music Schools – Conservatories (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/erg66.pdf).

The Ministry announced the operation, of the telephone lines with which teachers, parents / guardians and the general public will be able to communicate for information on the implementation of health protocols or on other issues related to the pandemic in schools (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/4092020_5.pdf).
New Protocols have been announced with instructions for the prevention of the spread of the SARS-CoV-2, which must be followed when planning and carrying out events such as conferences, awards, business dinners, business gatherings, corporate events, etc. (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/erg70.pdf), exhibitions (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/erg69.pdf), as well as guidelines for peaceful outdoor demonstrations (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/31082020_1.pdf).

Update 29th August 2020

The Minister of Health, exercising the power conferred on him by Article 6 (a), (b), (c), (d), (e) and (g) of the Infection Law, continued to issue new Decrees (the 38th and 39th) for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/diat/58.pdf, https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/diat/59.pdf).

On August 19th the Council of Ministers held a teleconference with the members of the Scientific Advisory Committee, during which the epidemiological data of the last days were examined, as well as measures for the better control and treatment of the Covid-19 pandemic and decided the measures that will be implemented on a nationwide basis that will be valid until January 15th, 2021 (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/21082020_3.pdf).

On August 25th the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth stated that for the coming school year, lessons will be attended with the physical presence of students in the schools, as per recommendations of the ECDC. At the same time, a proposal was approved for the amendment of the Regulations concerning Primary and Secondary education in order to regulate teaching with the use of digital means and distance education (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/25082020_2.pdf).

The Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works has announced that  public and private transportation companies and taxis and private passenger vehicles in the Limassol District, may now carry number of passengers equal to their full capacity. This was initially revoked due to the sudden outburst of Covid-19 cases in this district. (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/21082020_9.pdf). See also section 1.2: Physical distancing.

Following the Decree dated August 26th 2020, which sets the maximum number for gatherings in homes and / or other public or private gathering places at 50 persons , the MοΗ has clarified that it is allowed to organize a christening or wedding party or reception in homes with the participation of more than 50 people, provided that the organizers of the event will submit a request and will obtain approval from the MοΗ (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/27082020_1.pdf).

Update August 17th 2020

The Minister of Health, attended a meeting with the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, on July 28th, during which various aspects of the pandemic and the actions taken at national and European level for its management were discussed (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/29072020_2.pdf). In a number of written statements and press conferences, the Minister emphasized that the complacency of the last few days has led to the increase of the cases, and stressed the need to comply with the measures and protocols (more than 90 protocols) that have been issued (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/30072020_1.pdf, https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/05082020_2.pdf).

On July 31st the Minister of Health, after an increasing number of COVID-19 confirmed cases (especially in the district of Limassol), issued a new Decree (the 34th) detailing new measures to prevent the spread of the disease considering the compulsory use of protective face mask in indoor areas, a maximum number of buses’ passengers, the retail process for related products and special measures regarding the district of Limassol. See more details in the Physical Distancing section (1.2 (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/diat/56.pdf, https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/diat/55.pdf). On the same day the President of the Republic in a written statement, concerning new measures to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, expressed his great concern at the rise in the number if cases (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/31072020_2.pdf).

The Cyprus Human Resources Development Authority stated that from 1st of August 2020 until 21 August 2020, the use of a face mask becomes mandatory by all participants and attendees in training programmes as well as in professional certification assessments. (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/03082020_6.pdf).

Οn August 6th members of the Advisory Scientific Committee held a press conference referring to the increase in new cases and stressed the strict observance of preventive measures. (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/06082020_4.pdf).

Οn August 10th the MoH taking into account the anticipated increase of the movement of citizens in view of the summer holidays, called on the citizens and especially younger people, to be especially careful and to comply with the health and safety instructions (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/10082020_1.pdf).

Moreover, the MoH taking into account the virus transmission chains from parties and social gatherings that have been recorded, reiterated its call to all citizens to be extremely careful during their social contacts (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/13082020_2.pdf).

On August 11th, in a teleconference held between the Minister of Health and the Scientific Committee, during which the epidemiological situation, as it emerged in the last few days was reviewed, the data obtained were analyzed to prepare a road map, in order to be better prepared for the autumn (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/11082020_1.pdf).

According to the Decree issued by the Minister of Health on August 12th, the maximum number of persons that can gather in houses or public places, may not exceed 50 people with the exception of dining areas. (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/diat/57.pdf). See more details in section 1.2: Physical distancing.

The President of the Federation of Employers and Industrialists appeals for faithful compliance with the protocols and decrees in order to avoid transmission of the coronavirus. In a statement, he stressed that the recent increase in Covid-19 virus transmission cases has worried businessmen, society and the Government.(https://www.oeb.org.cy/proedros-oev-ekklisi-gia-pisti-tirisi-ton-protokollon/. Announcements for companies and / or in the public and / or wider public sector and / or the Independent Services and / or the Local Authorities, where positive cases of COVID-19 are detect, is continue (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/07082020_6.pdf).

Update 27th July 2020

Τhe Minister of Health in a series of written statements, stressed that despite the good epidemiological picture, citizens must remain strictly committed to observing all health protocols and self-protection measures in order to prevent derailment of the situation. He also stressed that controls have been strengthened and fines will be imposed where violations are found (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/16072020_4.pdf, https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/19072020_1.pdf).

On July 15th the MoH announced the guidelines and conditions for compliance with measures against the spread of COVID-19 for wedding events, etc.(https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/erg64.pdf), and on July 16th the additional protocol regarding the attendance of spectators in organised sports venues (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/erg65.pdf). The guidelines and conditions for compliance with measures against the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus during football matches and championships, were released by the Cyprus Football Federation (after approval by the MoH) (https://www.cfa.com.cy/images/DownloadsGr/%CE%A0%CF%81%CF%89%CF%84%CF%8C%CE%BA%CE%BF%CE%BB%CE%BB%CE%BF%20%CE%9A%CE%9F%CE%A0%20%202020.pdf).

Regarding the organisation of events without any restrictions on the number of guests, such as concerts, festivals, weddings or other social events, no final decision has been taken (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/22072020_1.pdf).

Update 15th July 2020

On July 15th the government held a Press release in relation to targeted and slow de-escalation of restrictive measures in line with the recommendations of the WHO and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), reiterating that great care is still needed in the behaviour of citizens to reduce virus occurrence in the country, a phenomenon that has been observed in recent weeks in other countries, where local lockdowns are already applied (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/15072020_1.pdf).

The meeting of the bi-communal Technical Committee for Health on the epidemiological bulletin on the situation in the occupied territories in relation to the coronavirus, has been postponed for next week (https://ygeia-news.com/institoyto-neyrologias-kai-genetikis/anablithike-gia-tin-alli-ebdomada-i-synedria-tis-dikoinotikis-texnikis-epitropis-gia-tin-ygeia-new/).

On July 8th the MoH announced the protocol for precautions against the spread of SARS-C0V-2, with regard to reopening of playgrounds https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/erg63.pdf).

On July 14th the government announced a new assessment of other countries' epidemiological risk for COVID-19, with 22 countries been classified under category A (low risk), 17 countries under category B (moderate risk), and 4 countries under category C (increased risk compared to categories A) (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/14072020_1.pdf, https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/en/press/7072020_4.pdf). Completing a Travel Card (CyprusFlightPass) is mandatory for all passengers intending to travel to Cyprus (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/13072020_1.pdf). See more details in section 1.2: Physical distancing

According to the MoH on July 12th, the number of people for social gatherings in homes, public places and catering businesses has increased to 250 outdoors and to 100 indoors (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/9072020_2.pdf, https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/en/press/10072020_2.pdf). See more details in section 1.2: Physical distancing

Update 5th July 2020

The President of the Republic continues to hold new meetings with the Scientific Advisory Council to be informed about the progress of the pandemic, so that the appropriate measures can be planned and taken (https://www.pio.gov.cy/%CE%B1%CE%BD%CE%B1%CE%BA%CE%BF%CE%B9%CE%BD%CF%89%CE%B8%CE%AD%CE%BD%CF%84%CE%B1-%CE%AC%CF%81%CE%B8%CF%81%CE%BF.html?id=14576#flat).

On June 26th the government released a health protocol and management guide specifically for precautions to be taken against the spread of SARS-C0V-2, in the process of identification and recognition of the remains of missing persons from the Turkish invasion in 1974 (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/26062020_3.pdf).

On June 29th the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance announced that there should be a minimum distance of two meters between children should in each classroom of the centers for the protection and recreation of children (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/29062020_1.pdf).

On July 1st the MoH has updated the protocol for precautions against the spread of SARS-C0V-2, with regard to catering establishments   https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/en/press/2072020_1.pdf) as well as for the use of gym locker rooms and sauna or steam baths (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/pdf/erg55.pdf).

The government is announcing its assessment of epidemiological risk from other countries on a weekly basis. According to the latest evaluation carried out, as of July 3rd, 23 countries have been classified as category A (low risk) and 17 countries as category B (moderate risk), (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/3072020_3.pdf). On June 29th Bulgaria has been precautionary removed from category A and added to category B (moderate risk) (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/25062020_3.pdf). See more details in section 1.2: Physical distancing.

According to the Decree issued by the Minister of Health on July 1st, the operation of indoor cinemas, theaters and entertainment rooms is allowed, provided they comply with the health and safety guidelines of the MoH (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/diat/52.pdf).

A health protocol and management guidelines for precautions against the spread of SARS-CοV-2 have been issued by the MoH for the operation and management of outdoor amphitheaters (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/pdf/erg40.pdf) as well for operation of camping sites (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/pdf/24062020_3.pdf). See more details in section 1.2: Physical distancing.

Update 24th June 2020

The President of the Republic continues to meet with the Scientific Advisory Committee in order to take all necessary measures so that the country maintains the good epidemiological profile it has so far achieved (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/19062020_5.pdf).

On June 18th, the Minister of Health had a teleconference with the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety. The main topic of their discussion was the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects on public health, (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/18062020_4.pdf).

On June 19th updated special guidelines were released for the management of food facilities (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/pdf/erg19.pdf). According to the MoH, until June 30th, the maximum number of persons that can be served must not exceed 75 people indoors and 150 outdoors, regardless of the area and the premises. In addition there should be no more than 10 persons seated at each table (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/10062020_4.pdf).

On June 19th the government announced a new assessment of other countries' epidemiological risk for COVID-19. More countries (n=33) now fall under categories A (low risk) or B (moderate risk), (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/19062020_4.pdf, https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/diat/50.pdf). See more details in section 1.2: Physical distancing

According to the Decree issued by the Minister of Health on June 19th, the operation of indoor playgrounds as well as gatherings in private and public places will be allowed from June 24th, provided they comply with the health and safety guidelines of the MoH. Also, on June 24th the restriction of 10 people for social gatherings in homes and public spaces is abolished, while the maximum number of persons allowed to attend gatherings is 75 for indoors or 150 outdoors - no simultaneous gathering indoors and outdoors is allowed (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/23062020_2.pdf).

Mass events, rallies, demonstrations, parades and concerts in public and private spaces, as well as open-air festivals and festivals are prohibited. (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/diat/50.pdf).

Update 14th June 2020

On June 9th the government announced that the gradual lifting of restrictive measures on flights will be implemented in two stages: Stage A June 9th -19th and stage B from June 20th, with countries categorised by the MoH depending on their epidemiological profile in three categories (A, B and C) (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/en/press/12062020_1.pdf).

The restoration of free movement of persons between the Republic of Cyprus and other countries and the lifting of restrictions on the implementation of flights will be a gradual process carried out in a coordinated manner (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/en/press/9062020_7.pdf).

The Minister of Justice announced that since the beginning of the pandemic, 1 million checks have been carried out and fines have been imposed on 12 thousand people because they did not comply with the restrictive measures.

On June 12th the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth announced that the maximum number of children in kindergartens in each classroom reverts to the one before the pandemic (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/12062020_7.pdf).
Precautionary measures against the spread of SARS-C0V-2 for food and beverage businesses was released by the MoH (https://www.pio.gov.cy/assets/pdf/newsroom/2020/06/COVID-19_for_Food_Businesses_Managers%20(1).pdf).

On June 9th the government announced specific guidelines for flights from countries that fall under categories A (low risk) or B (moderate risk). In addition, passengers from all other countries (category C) will be allowed to travel to the Republic under special conditions. On June 20th stage B will begin and passengers from category A countries will not be required to present a laboratory test examination certificate for COVID-19 (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/10062020_3.pdf, https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/en/press/9062020_7.pdf). On June 12th a travel advice for Cypriot citizens was issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs concerning countries which have been classified high-risk for the spread of SARS-C0V-2.  (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/12062020_2.pdf).

A health protocol and guidelines for precautions against the spread of SARS-C0V-2 have been issued for the operation of the shopping malls, (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/pdf/erg45.pdf), indoor and outdoor sport centres  (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/pdf/erg49.pdf, as well as for gyms (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/pdf/erg42.pdf) and for religious services and gatherings.

Update 6th June 2020

On June 3rd the Council of Ministers, in the context of the strategy for the gradual lifting of restrictions and of the beginning of the 3rd phase, has decided to further ease specific restrictions, taking into account the good epidemiological picture in Cyprus as well recommendations by the Advisory Scientific Committee to the President of the Republic and the Minister of Health. Plans are proceeding gradually with protocols in place for all businesses and the sectors in which they operate, but essential services are prepared in case there is a resurgence of cases (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/en/press/3062020_7.pdf).

On June 4th a number of protocols have been released for the management of safety and health issues in the centres for the protection and recreation of children:
  • Kindergartens (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/pdf/erg37.pdf)
  • Nurseries (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/pdf/erg35.pdf)
  • Special Schools (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/pdf/erg38.pdf)
  • Dance schools (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/pdf/erg34.pdf)
 
See more details in section 1: Physical distancing

Since the beginning of restrictions, the MoH has issued guidelines for employees that fall into vulnerable groups to work from home when possible (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/16032020_7.pdf). In the 1st phase of gradual lifting of restrictions, all employees were required to return to their duties, except employees that fell into the vulnerable groups category and could work on the condition that they do not come into contact with the public and there was no increased passage of people (Group A). Additionally employees that had a high risk for COVID-19 could work from home (Group B), (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/29042020_9.pdf). On June 13th the MoH will remove the Group A from the vulnerable groups category (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/5062020_4.pdf).

Technical instructions for the better operation of air conditioning / ventilation systems (HVAC) to redcuce spread of of infectious diseases such as COVID-19 in business premises such as malls and other shopping centres, has been released by the Department of Labor Inspection of the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/pdf/erg31.pdf).

A protocol has been released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for visitors from other countries (from June 9th) (https://www.visitcyprus.com/files/COVID-19_Destination_Protocol-Cyprus_final.pdf). Moreover guidelines for precautions against the spread of COVID-19 have been issued for the managers of swimming pools and public swimming pools (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/pdf/erg36.pdf).

See more details in section 1.2: Physical distancing

On June 4th a protocol was released for library operation (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/pdf/erg39.pdf). Guidelines for precautions against the spread of COVID-19 have been issued too, for the operation of amphitheaters and the management of the public in other related open spaces (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/pdf/erg40.pdf).

Update 31st May 2020

On May 27th the President of the Republic stressed in his speech that the State will not tolerate and will not allow those who are ignoring the rules of hygiene and social responsibility to continue with behaviours that are harmful to society, as the state will not be able to meet demand for services that may arise (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/27052020_5.pdf).

A protocol has been released for the protection of staff and visitors to the archaeological sites and museums which are reopening on June 1st (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/pdf/erg30.pdf). Moreover guidelines for precautions against the spread of COVID-19 have been issued for hotel and tourist lodge managers (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/pdf/erg29.pdf). See more details in section 1.2: Physical distancing

Update 17th May 2020

The gradual lifting of the restrictive measures in the second phase, as of May 21st, was decided by the President of the Republic with the special scientific advisory team of the ΜοΗ and the competent Ministers, after taking into account the epidemiological data, the experience of other countries, as well as the results from the diagnostic tests for the disease carried out by the MoH at a nationwide basis which has covered many layers and levels of the society (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/15052020_5.pdf).

On May 10th general safety guidelines for all businesses have been issued (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/pdf/erg20.pdf). For the 2nd phase special guidelines have been prepared for the operation of restaurants and cafes (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/pdf/erg19.pdf), as well for beauty saloons (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/15052020_4.pdf). See more details in section 6: Measures in other sectors.

The Council of Ministers has decided to prepare an action plan for the gradual lifting of restrictive measures for passenger flights. (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/7052020_3.pdf). In the Decree of the MoH on May 15th, allowing local flights with a maximum of two or three people, depending on the purpose (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/diat/34.pdf).

On May 6th revised guidelines were issued for implementing restrictive measures against the COVID-19 pandemic in ports, (https://www.pio.gov.cy/assets/pdf/newsroom/2020/05/11.5.2020_new%20Minister_Instructions_REVISED%20COVID%2019_Port%20Measures.pdf) as well as for the work shifts of crews (https://www.pio.gov.cy/assets/pdf/newsroom/2020/05/11.5.2020_Crew%20change.pdf).

According to the Decree of May 15th, training is allowed for a maximum of five persons in outdoor sport facilities, and up to a maximum of two persons in indoor facilities and up to eight persons for outdoor football facilities (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/diat/34.pdf) (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/pdf/erg17.pdf).

A Strategy for lifting restrictive measures and gradually restarting the economy has been defined in 4 phases, which have been approved by the Council of Ministers, and will be adjusted according to the epidemiological data. In accordance with the health and safety measures, and the directives issued by the MoH and/or any other instructions issued by relevant Ministries (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus), the following will apply:

Schools:

1st phase: 11.05.20
-High school graduates will return for lessons and the final exams, with special guidelines

Workers:

-15.04.20: All personnel of the Companies Registrar and Official Receiver returned to their duties
-23.04.20: All Veterinary Services staff of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment returned to their duties (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/diat/24.pdf)

1st phase: 04.05.20
-All employees in the public and wider public sector (including school staff), in retail businesses, in the health services of the of the Local Authorities, in the Consumer Protection Services, in the Courts of Justice and in the Central Bank are returning to their duties

Businesses:

1st phase: 04.05.20
-Operation of retail businesses (except those in malls) with special guidelines; open markets, street selling units and bazaars with special guidelines
-Full operation of the construction sector business with special guidelines and all enterprises which have similar economic activity. Pharmacies and food supply stores can operate also on Sundays
-Full operation of car washes, tourist and travel agencies, as well as of the manufacturing industry sector.

2nd phase: 21.05.20
-Operation of hairdressers, barbershops, and beauty salons and operation of restaurants and cafes in outdoors areas only.
-01.06.2020 – Betting Agencies will open.

For the 2nd phase, special guidelines have been prepared for the operation of restaurants and cafes (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/pdf/erg19.pdf), as well for beauty saloons (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/15052020_4.pdf)
see more details in section 6: Measures in other sectors


3rd phase: 09.06.20
-Shopping Centers and Malls, restaurants and cafes with indoor and outdoor service, Hotels, private summer schools, outdoor theaters and cinemas, and gyms will open.

4th phase: 14.07.20
-Indoor theaters and cinemas and casinos will open

Travel:

The Council of Ministers has decided to prepare an action plan for the gradual lifting of restrictive measures for passenger flights. (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/press/7052020_3.pdf). In the Decree of the MoH on May 15th, allowing local flights with a maximum of two or three people, depending on the purpose (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/diat/34.pdf).

1st phase: 04.05.20
-Parking of cruise ships for refuelling (without disembarkation of passengers or crew replacement)
-Replacement of crews for merchant ships and the movement of private boats in licensed areas, for mooring and maintenance purposes and repairs

2nd phase: 01.06.20
-Ports in full operation, with the exception of the disembarkation of cruise ship passengers. Libraries, museums, archaeological sites and historical sites will open

On May 6th revised guidelines were issued for implementing restrictive measures against the COVID-19 pandemic in ports ((https://www.pio.gov.cy/assets/pdf/newsroom/2020/05/11.5.2020_new%20Minister_Instructions_REVISED%20COVID%2019_Port%20Measures.pdf) as well as for the work shifts of crews (https://www.pio.gov.cy/assets/pdf/newsroom/2020/05/11.5.2020_Crew%20change.pdf).

3rd phase: 09.06.20
-Restrictions for travelling to be lifted.

Gatherings:

1st phase: 04.05.20
-Prayer is allowed in churches, mosques and other places of prayer, with no more than 10 people at the same time. Individual sports are allowed in open spaces for no more than two people together.

2nd phase: 21.05.20
-Meetings of up to 10 people are allowed
-01.06.2020 Restrictions in attendance to religious services and other forms of religious worship in churches, mosques and other places of worship (including weddings, christenings and funerals) will be lifted

According a Decree of May 15th, training is allowed for a maximum of five persons in outdoor sport facilities, and up to a maximum of two persons in indoor facilities and up to eight persons for outdoor football facilities (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/diat/34.pdf) (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/pdf/erg17.pdf).

3rd phase: 09.06.20
-Airports / airlines will gradually open under conditions. Ports, service and cruise ships will operate as normal

4th phase: 14.07.20
-Festivals and concerts can take place. The number of people that will attend will be determined later

The Cyprus government had a pandemic plan in place before the outbreak of COVID-19 and the MoH also had a National Pandemic Influenza Plan. The pandemic plan includes emergency response mechanisms, actions, responsibilities and communication and is related to a number of legislations:  The Quarantine Law, the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, and the Decision No 1082/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of  October 22nd 2013 on serious cross-border threats to health and prohibition of mass events and gatherings.

The various Decrees for the measures to prevent spread of COVID-19 were based to a large degree on the Quarantine Law. This Law refers to the protection of public health and the health care system which are under the responsibility of the Republic. It aims to limit the spread of communicable diseases, such as COVID-19, protecting public health and preventing any possible collapse of the health care system due to the spread of the disease, taking into account the human resources, infrastructure, and medical equipment available. There were a number of Decrees (12 as of March 31st 2020) related to restricting movement among infected persons, travellers, the prohibition of mass events and gatherings, increasing capacity in hospitals and health workforce, prohibition of unnecessary movements of citizens, suspension of the operation of many businesses and, most recently, the almost total prohibition of civilian movement between 21:00 and 06:00, forcing civil servants to work from home where possible, prohibiting citizens to attend places of religious worship, and prohibiting the operation of all food and beverage retailers every Sunday.

Coordination of COVID-19 response actions, due to the extraordinary circumstances, is done at the highest level by the Council of Ministers, the Minister of Health with the cooperation of the State Healthcare Services Organization, which is exclusively responsible for the public hospitals and health centres, as well as the Health Insurance Organization as a facilitator of Personal doctors. Under normal conditions, the department of Medical Services of the MoH is by Law the main responsible body for the prevention and control of infectious diseases. Initially, in late January, the Medical Services issued a newsletter with directions to travellers, protocols for identification of suspected incidents, instructions to health professionals, an investigation protocol including laboratory testing, guidelines for the virus prevention on-site of health care facilities and activation of a task force by the Unit of Surveillance and Control of Communicable Diseases at the MoH. The pandemic of COVID-19 at this level is led by the General Secretary and the Directorate of Medical Services of the MoH, in coordination with the Scientific Advisory Committee, the Council of Ministers and the President of the Republic. The Scientific Advisory Committee consists of independent academics from universities and members of the Unit of Surveillance and Control of Communicable Diseases. The Unit is coordinating surveillance and is responsible for communications with the ECDC, WHO and the EU. It is also nationally coordinating the testing procedure with the cooperation of Institutes and laboratories.

Information is communicated through the official government website (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/), press releases and the mass media (public and private). Since mid-March there have also been daily briefings from a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee and from the Administration of the State Health Services Organization on the current situation. There are also frequent briefings from the Government spokesman, Ministers on issues of their own competence, and also from the President of the Republic. There is also cooperation with the Turkish Cypriots in the occupied areas of Cyprus through a joint technical committee. 

Update 10th May 2020

In order to check the compliance of private hospitals with the instructions issued by the MoH, (including the bed occupancy rate of up to 60%), inspections will be carried out in private hospitals. In addition, private hospitals are now obliged to submit their weekly admissions schedule for non-emergency cases. The ceiling of 60% bed occupancy does not apply for day care clinics. (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/pdf/erg13.pdf).