As coronavirus cases rise, Cyprus has reinstated the need that everyone over 12 wear face masks indoors, the Mediterranean holiday island’s health ministry declared on Wednesday.
Michalis Hadjipantela, the health minister, made the announcement following a cabinet meeting. The decision is effective this coming Friday.
It comes after a recent increase in Covid-19 infections, with the health ministry collecting 19,503 positive cases between June 25 and July 5.
The decision constitutes an about-face for the authorities, who on June 1 had removed the previous face mask requirement.
Hadjipantela highlighted an increase in hospital cases associated with Covid and claimed that unprotected public contact with infected individuals was a contributing factor.
Three people died from Covid-19 last week, and 75 patients were hospitalized, four of whom had critical conditions, according to the epidemiological data from the health ministry.
Face masks were once again required for Covid visitors on June 28 when they went to pharmacies, medical facilities, and government testing places.
Visitors to medical facilities, nursing homes, and on public transportation must also conceal their faces.
Following the most recent spike in Covid cases and hospitalizations, which was linked to the predominance of the extremely contagious Omicron subvariants BA4 and BA5, many scientists urged authorities to reinstall the mask.
Authorities were wary about reintroducing the face mask during the busiest travel period for fear of losing visitors, especially when no mask requirements exist in nearby destinations.
Since the pandemic began in March 2020, there have been 515,596 coronavirus infections and 1,075 fatalities in the Republic of Cyprus, out of a population of about 900,000.