The Cyprus Government has issued the following guidelines on the 20th April 2021 relating to procedures for confirmed coronavirus cases and their close contacts:
- What is a coronavirus case?
A coronavirus case is an individual who has a positive result in a coronavirus diagnostic test (molecular test-PCR or rapid antigen test).
- What should I do if I am confirmed as a positive case by a coronavirus test?
When we are informed of a positive result from a diagnostic test, we must immediately self-isolate and expect to be contacted by the Tracing Team of the Ministry of Health. We must also inform our Personal Doctor, who is responsible for monitoring the health of his/ her patients/beneficiaries on a regular basis.
The virus-positive individual is not allowed to leave the house and visit other places. It is noted that the virus-positive individual is prohibited from going to the rapid testing units. Ideally, the individual should live alone in the house and his/her space or, if this is not possible, he/she should self-isolate in a room of the house, which will not be used by the other members of the household. The room in which the virus-positive individual stays must be well ventilated.
At the same time, we must make a record of the individuals with whom we had close contact and inform them, so that they can self-isolate immediately.
- For how many days should I remain self-isolated if I am a coronavirus case?
Coronavirus cases remain self-isolated for a period of 14 days from the onset of symptoms or, in the case of an asymptomatic individual, from the day of the testing. In the case of an individual showing symptoms at any stage of the 14 days, he/she must inform his/her Personal Doctor with whom he/she must maintain frequent telephone communication.
- How can I be discharged from self-isolation if I am a positive case?
For the discharge of the positive case, the responsibility lies with the Personal Doctor on the basis of a protocol notified to the doctors by the Epidemiological Monitoring Unit.
Individuals who do not have a Personal Doctor are discharged by the Discharge Team of the Ministry of Health.
In both cases, upon discharge, all positive cases receive a text message indicating the day of discharge. Sick leave is given by the Personal Doctor.
- When am I considered a close contact?
A close contact is the individual who, inter alia:
- Lives with a confirmed positive case.
- Has direct physical contact with a confirmed positive case (e.g. handshake).
- Has face-to-face contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case at a distance of less than 2 meters for more than 15 minutes.
- Has met with a coronavirus positive case in an enclosed space (e.g. classroom, cinema, hospital waiting area, etc.) at a distance of less than 2 meters for more than 15 minutes.
- Who will inform me that I am a close contact of a confirmed positive case?
When an individual is diagnosed positive for the virus, he/she must inform all individuals with whom he/she has had close contact (see answer to question 5) 48 hours before the onset of symptoms or before the testing which determined the positive result. At the same time, the coronavirus case must record the contact details of his/her close contacts, and send them electronically to the Tracing Team.
- What should I do if I am a close contact of a confirmed positive case?
Once an individual is informed that he/she is a close contact of a confirmed positive case, he/she must self-isolate at his/her home or at a separate space from the other members of his/her household. Close contacts are prohibited from leaving the house or visit other places. Under no circumstances is the close contact allowed to go to the rapid testing units.
- For how many days should a close contact self-isolate?
Close contacts remain in mandatory self-isolation for 14 days from their last contact with the positive case regardless of the result of the laboratory test. The day of contact with the positive case is defined as day "0".
Close contacts are subjected to a molecular test (PCR test) after the arrangement of an appointment by the Public Health Medical Centres and, at the same time, close contacts receive instructions for self-isolation via a text message. Close contacts can be discharged earlier than 14 days ONLY if they undergo, at their own expense, a molecular test (PCR test) in an approved private clinical laboratory on the 7th day of their self-isolation, and provided that the result is negative. It is emphasized that the result of rapid antigen test is not accepted.
If an individual who is considered to be a close contact shows symptoms at any time during self-isolation, he/she must immediately contact and inform his/her Personal Doctor that he/she is a close contact of a positive case.
- In which cases am I exempt from self-isolation if I am a close contact of a positive case?
An individual is exempt from the mandatory self-isolation if he/she is assessed as a close contact in the following cases:
- Individuals who have completed their vaccination with any of the available licensed vaccines. A necessary prerequisite is that 14 days must elapse since the administration of the last dose of the vaccine.
- Individuals who have been discharged as positive cases within 6 months.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.