NICOSIA, April 20 (Xinhua) -- The government of Cyprus has decided to gradually lift almost all COVID-19-related restrictions by mid-May, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas said here on Wednesday.
From April 22, the coronavirus SafePass system will not apply to outdoor dining spaces and entertainment venues, and the capacity limit for social gatherings in restaurants and private homes will also be removed.
Hadjipantelas listed 14 other restrictions that will be modified or fully lifted on May 15.
However, the indoor face mask mandate for shops and workplaces will remain in force, along with the obligation to present a SafePass upon entering the indoor sections of restaurants and entertainment venues.
Visiting hospitals and other care facilities will be unrestricted for vaccinated and recovered people, he said.
Unvaccinated people will be required to present a negative rapid COVID-19 test taken less than 48 hours before arrival or a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) certificate not older than 72 hours.
After May 15, people identified as close contacts of a confirmed coronavirus case will no longer be required to self-isolate but will be advised to take a test on the third and fifth day after the last close contact. Weekly self-testing remains a recommendation.
The minimum age for a voluntary fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose at least five months after the last shot will be reduced from 70 years to 60 years.
On April 18, Cyprus lifted COVID-19 conditions for travel to the island, requiring only the presentation of a negative coronavirus test by unvaccinated travelers. ■