The government of Cyprushas announced to step up its Covid-19-related travel and movement restrictions for the second time in eight days in an ef- fort to slow the spread of infections fanned by the Omicron variant.

In a statement is sued after a Council of Ministers’ meeting, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas said that from Thursday onwards, passengers arriving in the country from any destination who refuse to submit to a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test on arrival will be quarantined for 14 days at their expense, reports Xinhua news agency. Quarantined people can be released on the seventh day if they sub- mit to a PCR test. Travellers arriving from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi and Botswana will no longer have to stay in quarantine, as the Omicron variant has already been detected in other countries as well.

The number of people who can meet in a private home will be reduced from 20 to 10,excluding children, and the number of people who will be allowed into entertainment venues of any kind will also be reduced from 300 to 200.

From January 10, unvaccinated people will not be allowed into hotels and other tourist lodgings for any reason.

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The percentage of in the public and private vice sectors working staff serfrom home will be increased from 40 percent to 50 percent.

The Council of Ministers decided to allow students to return to school on Monday after a three-day extension of the winter school recess, but both students and school staff will have to undergo a rapid antigen test twice a week.

The beefed-up measures will stay in effect until January 31. The health authorities said that 87 percent of the country’s population have already received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose and 83 per cent have completed their vaccine course. Despite the high vaccination rate, the number of new infections shot up to 5,457 on Tuesday from a two-digit number two weeks ago, in a population of less than a million. The positivity rate also went up from less than 1 per cent to 4.44 percent.

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