The Health Ministry announced new measures on Tuesday by decree, effective immediately, in order to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the community, including the obligatory testing of asylum seekers prior to entering reception centres in the Republic.
The new measures are:
- Asylum seekers placed with reception/accommodation centres are obliged to take a Covid-19 test prior to entering the centres.
- The test is to be taken or repeated to any resident of the accommodation/reception centres as deemed necessary by the head of the Asylum Service.
- All new prisoners/detainees are obliged to take a Covid-19 test before being admitted to any prison/detention centre.
- The test is to be taken or repeated to any prisoner/detainee as deemed necessary by the head of the Prisons Department and/or head of detention centre and/or chief of police and/or other detention centre senior.
Five of the seven cases detected on Sunday by the Health Ministry were migrants who were tested before being taken to the Pournara temporary reception centre for refugees. They had crossed over from Turkish held north Cyprus where they had gone from Syria via Turkey.
Scientists have since voiced their concern over these cases, with expert Dr Leontios Kostrikis raising the alarm earlier on Tuesday over refugees/immigrants “who cross to the free areas without checks as it is not known whether they are carrying the virus or not.”