The Ministry of Health is proud of the implementation of the “test to stay” measure at elementary schools, said Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela, adding that in the event it is successful, it will be implemented in other state services.
He told journalists after visiting schools in Larnaca that he intends to have a meeting on Tuesday afternoon with experts to decide what will apply for children under 5 and whether the measure can be extended to other services such as hospitals, the Police and the Fire Service.
We will hear their views and proposals will be tabled to the Cabinet for approval, he added.
He told journalists that where the measure is being implemented, everything went smoothly, adding that it is being applied throughout the government-controlled areas. Minor problems faced at schools, he said, will be sorted out.
According to the Minister of Health there are 148 centres throughout the government-controlled areas where students can have a test that takes no longer than five minutes and then the child can go to school and not home if the result is negative. A further 100 crews have been set up.
With this test, he said, parents who have a child who is a close contact can know in 5 to 10 minutes whether they should take the child back home or whether he/she will remain in school.
According to the measure, students take a rapid test for six days after being named as a contact on their way into school. They will wait in an allocated place and once their test is negative, will be allowed into class.
Invited to say whether this measure will help bring relaxation of restrictive measures in the near future, Hadjipantela said that this will be discussed by the experts.
Asked if the Ministry is satisfied with the measure’s first day, he replied “we are proud of the measure implemented.”
He said it was a ground-breaking plan which will be evaluated during a meeting scheduled for next Monday with the Ministers of Health and education, parents’ and teachers’ associations. Their views will be heard and evaluated, adding if any decisions need to be taken, they will.
The issue of kindergarten students will be examined on Tuesday afternoon during a meeting Hadjipantela will have with the health experts in the afternoon.