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Rapid test stations doubled, corona pass is our safety pass, Health Minister says

As of Friday the rapid test stations in Cyprus will be doubled and will reach 85 in order to accommodate the citizens in view of the new measures to be put in place Monday May 10th that require a rapid test to visit certain shops and other places, the Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said on Thursday.

In a press conference where he presented the new measures with the head of the Scientific Committee Constantinos Tsioutis and the member Constantinos Fellas, the Minister said that the so called corona pass is a sort of a safety pass in the new reality and deflected the criticism that the corona pass leads to inequalities among the citizens.

He said that on the contrary, with the pass, ie the rapid test or PCR every 72 hours, the vaccination card or the sms that one was ill from the COVID and now is out of the quarantine, the citizens will feel safer when visiting certain places.

He also recalled that people now will not have to send an sms for going out. The Minister said that the antibody test or the self test are not a condition for a corona pass.

Ioannou appeared annoyed with the issues with the Vaccination Portal and assured that all those who lost their turn to book an appointment due to the technical problems, will be given a second chance.

He said that there is no problem with the number of vaccines and Cyprus has ordered enough to cover the population. He said that the vaccination is going according to the plan and that the Ministry is in discussions with the pharmacists, in addition with the GPs, to assist with the inoculations, but so far nothing has been agreed.

As regards the inoculation of younger ages with Pfizer, the Minister said that Cyprus follows the instructions and directives of EMA.

Ioannou noted that the lockdowns are not the solution and that we cannot keep the economy and society shut for too long. He said that we need to cooperate, learn to live in a new reality, follow the measures and keep safe, otherwise we will constantly have the same problems.

Ioannou said that the government does not want to make citizens’ lives harder and added that the corona pass is a measure that was introduced in other countries and that the EU is in discussions for the green pass for travelling abroad.

Head of the Scientific Committee Constantinos Tsioutis said that we are the solution to the pandemic crisis and that we need to cooperate because the pandemic will not disappear easily.

He said that a year into the crisis we still talk about the same stuff and the basic rules and measures but at the same time we have lost lives, people suffer, their loved ones also suffer and some still grieve. Therefore, he said, we need to keep repeating how the covid is spread and what we can all do to prevent it.

Dr Tsioutis said that the vaccination is the means to return to some kind of normality and although the vaccines do not offer 100% protection, they prevent serious illness and hospitalizations.

He said that we cannot lift all measures as we do not know right now a great deal about the pandemic but from what we know so far, we ought to keep safe and follow the rules.

Dr Fellas in his statement said that our lives have been affected and we are in a financial uncertainty but we need to make a new deal and realize that the cooperation and solidarity will help us contain the pandemic.

He said that socializing, which is the most important aspect of human lives, has been affected also. Dr  Fellas also referred to the patients and their relatives and to the health professionals who are in an everyday struggle to keep all of us safe.

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