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Cyprus to start vaccinating 16-17-year-olds

Christian Fernsby |
The Health Ministry of Cyprus said on Monday that it will start vaccinating 16- and 17-year-olds after COVID-19 cases have spiked again since the beginning of last week.

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It said in a statement that its vaccination portal will open on Wednesday for individuals of that age group, after it was established that a large proportion (almost 30 percent) of new coronavirus cases were people aged 15 to 18. The social activity of people in this age group is "intense" and they tend to have an extensive network of contacts, the statement said.

Adolescents aged 17 and 18 were given the opportunity to get vaccinated, but the response has been modest, according to health officials.

Epidemiologist Valentinos Silvestros, head of the contact tracing team at the Ministry, commented that tracing clusters of infection is especially difficult in this age group.

The number of new coronavirus cases jumped from less than 50 to between 220 and 250 per day following the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions in a population of 1.18 million.

The relaxation coincided with the beginning of the summer break at the country's schools and a three-day holiday (June 19-21), during which thousands flocked to the beaches and into cafes and nightclubs.

The spike in new cases has alarmed the government, which has disbursed billions of euros to support businesses and workers.

President Nicos Anastasiades has convened an emergency meeting of the epidemiological team advising the government on the handling of the pandemic to consider the situation for late Monday.


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