Cyprus remains the number one test country in Europe, with 24,196 tests per 100,000 population, according to recent data released by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). In the week of February 22-28, 229,743 rapid tests were performed, through the program of the Ministry of Health, from which 809 cases emerged with a positive rate of 0.35%. During the same period, 1,160 companies and 4,531 employees were audited. 78,642 vaccinations have been carried out in Cyprus so far, of which 20,152 during the period 22-28 February. Cyprus ranks 3rd among EU countries in terms of at least one dose of vaccine, according to ourWorldInData website.
An announcement of the Ministry of Health states that the next phase of the strategy of gradual lifting of the restrictive measures enters Cyprus from today, Monday, after the decisions taken by the Council of Ministers on February 25th. “The epidemiological situation, although improved, remains at a critical point, which could easily worsen. “The primary goal is, through the adoption of a series of actions, to keep the epidemiological indicators at a stable point, until the vaccination coverage of a significant percentage of the population is achieved in the coming weeks,” he added.
Regarding the actions taken in the week of 22-28 February 2021, by the Ministry of Health, on the basis of the triptych “test – surveillance – vaccinations” it is noted that the main pillar, on which the policy of Cyprus has been based since the beginning of the pandemic, is conducting mass tests, by implementing, from time to time, laboratory testing programs targeting different population groups.
Since November 2020, antigen rapid tests have been a key tool in controlling and limiting the transmission of the virus to the community, and are used to control both the general population and the regular control of workers in framework of the strategy for the gradual de-escalation of restrictive measures, is supplemented.
It is also reported that mass testing, in addition to early detection of cases to reduce the spread of the virus in the community, helps to control the more aggressive transmission of the virus, which is caused by the virus mutations that have now been detected in European countries. including Cyprus, causing strong concern at pan-European level.
“The rapid and real-time diagnosis offered by rapid antigen tests helps to immediately begin tracking their close contacts. “Having detected outbreaks in specific areas of the country, but also in professional areas, the Ministry of Health in the last two weeks has extended the tracking of cases to secondary contacts, in an effort to detect cases faster and prevent further spread of the virus.” the announcement continues.
According to the Ministry, the determining factor for the successful return to normalcy is the monitoring of the correct implementation of the measures, in order to be as effective as possible.
“In order to monitor the observance of the measures and the compliance with them, but also to provide assistance for their more correct implementation, the Health Services of the Ministry of Health, within the framework of their responsibilities, carry out continuous inspections in companies. In this context, during the period 22-26 February, audits were carried out in 1,160 companies and 4,531 employees were audited “, it is reported.
It is added that during the audits, no non-compliance with the provisions of the Decrees was found and no extrajudicial fines were issued.
In detail, 141 barbershops / hairdressers and 206 employees in these companies, 51 beauty salons and 86 employees, 181 supermarkets / grocery stores and 1,318 employees, 157 kiosks and 358 employees and 630 food companies and 2,563 employees in them were inspected.
Continuing the implementation of the objectives of the National Vaccination Plan for COVID-19, it is also reported that a total of 20,152 vaccinations were carried out in the week of 22-28 February 2021, bringing the number of vaccinations carried out so far in Cyprus to 78,642. The first dose was 55,762 and the second dose was 22,880, it added.
The vaccination coverage of the population continued last week with the age group of 71 years and over, while the vaccination of health professionals and specific patients who fall into the vulnerable groups is in progress, the Ministry of Health continues.
It also cites data published on the website OurWorldInData – until February 26 – according to which Cyprus ranks 3rd among the countries of the European Union in terms of the administration of at least one vaccine, with an average of 8.7 doses per 100 people.
The Ministry of Health reminds that, at the moment, the vaccinations are carried out in 11 Vaccination Centers all over Cyprus, by a total of 26 teams. In addition, vaccinations are carried out by six mobile units nationwide. In full development of the Vaccination Center, up to 15,000 vaccinations per day can be performed. So far, three vaccines have been evaluated and licensed by the European Medicines Agency, Pfizer / BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Moderna. The company Johnson & Johnson has also submitted an application for a license to Coreper, which is expected to be evaluated in the coming days.