NICOSIA — Despite criticisms over data privacy worries, Cyprus on May 10 began a so-called CoronaPass requirement to allow travel as the country has opened to more tourists and eased out of COVID-19 lockdown measures.
That requires a document or mobile phone certificate proving vaccination or a negative Coronavirus test taken within the previous 72 hours, of recovery from the virus in the last six months.
It must be displayed by all residents and visitors at hotels, restaurants, cafes or bars, places of worship, theaters and cinemas, shopping malls, gyms, retirement homes, beauty salons, beaches, food stores and other public venues.
“Cyprus takes a step towards returning to a more normal pace of social and economic activity," Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said, reported the site Medical Xpress.
"By implementing health protocols, testing the population and expediting the vaccination program, Cyprus is taking an important step towards exiting uncertainty," he added.
The pass will replace a system in which people had to get official approval by tet message or other form to be able to leave their homes during three lockdowns aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.
Cypriots wanting to enter hospitality venues will now need to show the COVID-19-free certificate as a temporary measure until May 31 in an attempt to get more people to be vaccinated, which isn't mandatory.
The health ministry said Cyprus ranks sixth in the EU for administering the first dose of COVID vaccines, with two shots required weeks or months apart except for the single-shot Johnson & Johnson dose.
Until May 8, some, 36 percent of the adult population had received a first jab and 11 percent been fully vaccinated but health officials said 65-70 percent of the population must be protected to achieve immunity and beat the pandemic.
Cyprus, excluding the northern third occupied by Turkish-Cypriots since an unlawful 1974 Turkish invasion, has had nearly 70,000 cases and 334 deaths since March 2020.