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Health Minister: decision about return to universities will aim to safeguard their health

Minister of Health Michalis Hadjipantelas reassured on Wednesday university students that a decision expected to be taken by the Council of Ministers regarding the return of students with physical presence to universities, will aim to safeguard the health of all students.

Students protested outside the Ministry of Health on Wednesday demanding that  PCR tests and antigen rapid tests be allowed – in addition to the vaccination certificate or the coronavirus recovery certificate- in order to ensure the physical presence of more students in the classrooms. In addition, they insisted on the state subsidising the tests.

Minister of Health Michalis Hadjipantelas, who spoke with students` representatives, said that the students` positions will be taken into consideration, noting that the goal remains the physical presence of all students in the classrooms as well as the protection of their health.

He said that lately the epidemiological picture in Cyprus has improved and pointed out that the government decided to delay its decision on the matter for some more days to review whether this good epidemiological picture would allow the return to universities with the PCR and the rapid tests.

The demonstration took place in the light of Tuesday`s decision of the Cyprus University of Technology (CUT) that lectures will take place with the physical presence of academic staff and students provided that they have a vaccination certificate for COVID 19 with at least one dose and that three weeks have passed since the date of vaccination,  or a certificate of recovery from COVID 19 valid for six months from the date of  the initial diagnosis or a medical certificate proving that the person cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.

Rector of the Cyprus University of Technology Panayiotis Zafiris told CNA that the University`s decision does not discriminate against different students, adding that the decision was deemed necessary since students have a high number of contacts.

Asked if the government can change the CUT`s decision, the Minister of Health clarified that the university is an autonomous organisation and the government can not interfere.

Meanwhile, the University of Cyprus reaffirmed on Wednesday in a press release its decision taken on the 7th of July based on which lectures during the winter semester 2021-2022 will take place with physical presence and with the presentation of the European digital certificate COVID “Safe Pass”. It adds that the decision took into account the epidemiological picture and the scientific views of academics specialising in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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