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Cabinet extends COVID-19 measures to 2/12, booster shots open to 50+ and people with obesity

The cabinet in Cyprus has announced on Thursday the extension of measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 until 2nd December and has recommended people aged 50 and over as well as people with obesity take the COVID-19 booster vaccine.

The decisions were taken after a recommendation by Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela.

A Health Ministry press release said the Cabinet took into consideration the latest epidemiological data as well as the fact that the scientific communities in both Cyprus and overseas believe that the coming period requires great care to avoid a new COVID outbreak. The Minister said in many European countries there is already a worsening of the epidemiological situation which forces states to bring back strict measures.

In an effort to allow time to monitor and review the epidemiological situation, the Cabinet deemed it necessary to extend the existing measures until 2 December 2021, the press release added.

In addition, following a recommendation by the majority of the members of the Scientific Advisory Committee, the Council of Ministers approved a proposal to reduce the age limit for the COVID-19 booster shot to people aged 50 years and over, provided that six months have elapsed since the completion of the initial vaccination regimen. According to the existing data, the position that the booster dose should be extended to the general population is gradually gaining ground, since it is observed that, that over a certain period of time after the initial vaccination regimen has been completed, immunity declines and there is a gradual decrease in the effectiveness of the vaccine.

The Cabinet also approved a proposal to include obese members of the community in the priority groups to receive the booster dose, provided their BMI is over 40 or 35 with metabolic syndrome, irrespective of their age and who had been vaccinated in the first phase of the National Vaccination Programme. A prerequisite is that six months have elapsed since the completion of their vaccination regimen.

The Ministry of Health will inform the public in the next few days on the procedure that it will follow for the two groups.

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