COVID-19 – FAQs relating to Rapid Antigen Tests as of the 1st August 2021
The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Cyprus has issued its guidelines and FAQs relating to the upcoming changes for the rapid tests to be available and testing methods, as follows:
- What changes as of 1st of August onwards regarding rapid antigen tests?
According to a decision of the Council of Ministers, dated July 2, 2021, as of 1st of August rapid antigen tests carried out free of charge for COVID-19 will be terminated.
- Where can a citizen undergo a rapid test in order to obtain a SafePass?
For the issuance of a SafePass, citizens can undergo rapid antigen tests only at the licensed clinical laboratories which are the main bodies responsible for carrying out tests, as well as at the licensed pharmacies.
The Ministry of Health has established policies for the inspection and supervision of the procedures to be followed regarding the necessary knowledge as well as the medical equipment to be used since, as agreed by the member states of the European Union, only products of specific manufacturers can be used for the issuance of the EU Digital COVID Certificate. Clinical laboratories or pharmacies, which will not comply with the procedures and instructions of the Ministry of Health regarding the conduct and the reporting of the results of the tests will lose the authorisation to carry out the tests and will be fined.
It is clarified that other medical centres and/or clinical laboratories and pharmacies that carry out rapid tests with mobile units cannot issue a SafePass and/or an EU Digital COVID Certificate.
- How much will a test cost in private clinical laboratories and pharmacies?
The maximum charge according to a decision of the Council of Ministers, dated 16 July 2021, is set at 10 euros.
- Is the free control program with rapid tests of the Ministry of Health being terminated?
No, the program of the Ministry of Health will continue to operate and will be provided free of charge to the population groups, which for certain reasons cannot be vaccinated.
- Can I undergo a rapid test at my own expense at the mobile testing units that will operate under the program of the Ministry of Health?
No, the mobile testing units that will continue to operate under the program of the Ministry of Health will only serve the groups of the population that are exempted from the paid conduct of tests, and they do not have the authorization to receive money from citizens.
- Which groups of the population will be entitled to undergo tests at the mobile testing units operating under the free program of the Ministry of Health?
With the necessary presentation of proof of identity, the following groups can undergo free rapid antigen tests through the program of the Ministry of Health:
- Minors aged up to 16, who do not currently have the option to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
- Minors aged 16 and 17, provided that their parents/legal guardians do not consent to their vaccination.
- Individuals aged 16 and over, who cannot be vaccinated on presentation of a medical certificate. The categories of citizens who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons will be established upon the recommendation of the Cyprus Medical Association and relevant instructions will be issued to citizens and health professionals.
- Pregnant women on presentation of a medical certificate from their gynaecologist confirming that vaccination is not recommended.
- Individuals who have been vaccinated with the 1st dose of the vaccine, and for the three-week period that they must undergo tests in order to obtain a SafePass. The Vaccination Card must be presented for verification purposes.
- Individuals who have completed their vaccination scheme but wish to get tested in order to monitor their health or for other reasons. It is understood that the Vaccination Card must be presented.
In addition, the Ministry of Health, within the framework of monitoring the country’s epidemiological situation, will continue its inspections in closed structures, nursing homes and other places hosting high-risk individuals and/or individuals who fall into the vulnerable groups of the population.
- How often should I undergo a rapid antigen test?
For the issuance of a SafePass, and provided that the citizen over the age of 12 does not hold a vaccination certificate or a certificate of recovery from COVID-19 during the last 180 days, he/she must undergo a PCR or rapid antigen test every 72 hours.
For any further guidance regarding this procedure or if you require an initial consultation, please do not hesitate to contact our Law Firm at [email protected], +357 22 251 777 or +357 25 261 777 or please visit our office in Nicosia or Limassol.