The practice of "test to stay" will be finally implemented in schools, the announcement of which provoked a storm of reactions among teachers, to the point where they appear ready to take action, while in order for someone to enter a nursing home, whether vaccinated or not, it is necessary. present a negative test of the same day.
The Council of Ministers yesterday adopted both proposals of the Minister of Health Michalis Hadjipandelas, who had prepared his suggestions following the recommendation of the members of the Scientific Advisory Committee, with whom he had a meeting on Tuesday afternoon.
Therefore, yesterday, it was announced that the Ministry decided for the schools that:
> From January 17 to February 16, 2022, the measure "test to stay" is included in Primary and Secondary education, in order for the schools to remain in operation and the positive cases of coronavirus to be identified in time.
> According to the decision, "close case contacts, regardless of historical vaccination, will be subjected to a rapid antigen detection test (Rapid test or self test) daily for a period of 5 days.
> The decision concerns only the students since as we are informed there is a pending legal issue that was raised during the discussion before the Attorney General.
For nursing homes and closed structures it was decided that:
> The lifting of the ban on visits to nursing homes and closed structures.
> Only persons who have completed their vaccination program and have not passed the 7-month period, or who have a disease certificate and have not passed the 90-day period, or who have received the booster / 3rd dose, are allowed to enter these areas, meaning that they present a negative Rapid test on the same day.
> The measure enters into force today.
Further, the Ministry proceeded to review the rules of entry of travelers to the Republic of Cyprus. Specifically and in accordance with the decision:
> From 14 January at 5:00 am, either a 72-hour PCR laboratory test or a 24-hour Rapid antigen detection test will be accepted for travel to the Republic of Cyprus.
> In the case of persons who had fallen ill, at least 10 days must have elapsed from the date of positive sampling to travel to the Republic of Cyprus.
It is recalled that until January 31, 2022, "all passengers over 12 years of age must undergo a PCR laboratory test upon arrival at the airports of the Republic of Cyprus and within 72 hours of arrival, rapid antigen test (rapid test), with the exception of those who received the booster / 3rd dose of vaccine ".
The crews of the Ministry of Health will probably carry out the tests
The teams of the Ministry of Health will probably undertake the tests that will be carried out in the schools within the framework of the "test to stay" measure, since despite the fact that the details of the procedure are expected to be finalized today, this was the prevailing scenario until last night. .
According to information from "Φ", the possibility of conducting the tests by trained teachers was also discussed, however, this scenario has probably entered the drawers for the time being, although it is not ruled out that it will return at a later stage, if there is a need to continue meter in school units.
As we are informed, and based on what was discussed yesterday both between the two ministers of Health and Education involved, and between the competent officials, the competent Department of the Ministry of Health today will give its final position on the way in which the checks between students.
The possibilities, until last night were three:
> Health professionals from the sampling crews operating in all cities will go to schools early in the morning and perform the tests where and when needed.
> Ministry of Health crews will be transferred to schools after analyzing data from the previous night.
> Ministry of Health crews will start operating very early in the morning, so that students can be examined before going to school.
The first scenario was prevalent yesterday, although according to information from "Φ", on Tuesday night and before yesterday's meeting of the Council of Ministers, the procedures were launched at the Ministry of Health to be ready to intervene the mobile sampling units and not health professionals, however, raised some concerns regarding the possibility of immediate transfer of entire workshops to schools as this measure is based more on the speed with which the tests should be performed.
If it is finally decided to carry out the inspections by health professionals of the crews of the Ministry of Health, the implementation of the measure may be delayed for a few twenty-four hours in order to properly prepare and complete all necessary procedures in order not to cause unwanted practical problems.
As for the philosophy of the measure, which is applied in many European countries, in the departments where a positive incident is detected, students who are defined as close contacts according to the protocol already applied in schools, are examined early in the morning before their entry into their classroom. Those who have a negative result stay in school and those who show a positive result are isolated. The procedure is repeated for a period of five days.
20 deaths in a week
Announcing the decisions of the Council of Ministers, the Minister of Health Michalis Hadjipandelas stressed that "the percentage of positivity (ie the number of cases detected in relation to the number of tests performed daily) is consistently above 3% (safety limit of 1%) While from last Wednesday until yesterday, more than 28.000 cases were detected. "OKYPY hospitals work tirelessly to respond to the increased number of hospitalizations, a fact that we take seriously, since the protection of public health is a key factor in our every decision."
Meanwhile, according to information from "F", the Ministry of Health and scientists are particularly concerned about the number of deaths of coronavirus patients that have been recorded recently. In one week, 20 deaths were recorded, a number which is not considered at all small in relation to the population of Cyprus. At the same time, it confirms the position of OKYPY that despite the fact that the exacerbation is attributed to the "Omicron" mutation, in the hospitals of Cyprus the severity of the symptoms presented by the patients admitted for treatment does not differ from the one that prevailed during the exacerbation caused by the mutation. "Delta" in recent months.
All the data, as we are informed, are evaluated daily by the scientists who have been instructed on Tuesday by the Minister of Health, to be on constant alert and in case they deem it necessary to take additional measures, to convene an extraordinary meeting for new decisions. .