N. Pirilides & Associates LLC


Offering high-quality and effective legal advice



“Safe Pass” system came into effect in Cyprus – How constitutional is it?

As of Monday 10/05 Cyprus has exited a third partial lockdown with a new coronavirus "safe pass" system to allow people to move freely (the government abolished the system of official approval by text message used to allow people to leave home).

Those eligible for the safe pass (coronapass) must either have:

  • A negative test (pcr/rapid), effective for 72 hours.
  • Vaccination at least with 1 dose and completion of a period of at least 3 weeks after the vaccination.
  • contracted coronavirus in the past 6 months.

The measure was found as unconstitutional by the president of the Cyprus Bar Association, Dr. Christos Clerides, who cited Chapter 260 of the law and the country’s constitution saying they do not provide the possibility of introduction and enforcement of such a measure.

The Cyprus Personal Data Protection Commissioner, Ms. Nikolaidou, stated that these certificates are considered as health data and according to the GDPR, they should be treated with precaution.  The impact assessment of the safety pass should be taken into consideration i.e. how exactly this system will work, how it will be processed, whether there will be a single database held, who will be the owner of this database etc.

Ms. Nikolaidou clarified that the Coronapass is not the same as the Green pass promoted by the European Commission on the basis of European directives to facilitate safe free movement inside the EU during the pandemic. Even though the Digital Green Pass will serve the same purpose i.e. offer proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or recovered from COVID-19, as Ms. Nikolaidou alleged, the Green pass concerns only the travels and the movement of citizens inside and outside the EU, while the safe pass concerns the movement of Cypriot citizens within Cyprus and the access they will have to various places.

Ms. Nikolaidou reiterated that except for the competent Inspector or the Police, no person has the right to ask a Cypriot citizen for any certificate, either to be allowed to enter a place, or for any other purpose.

Although authorities confirmed that the safe pass is a temporary measure, to be enforced until 31/05 to help speed up the island's vaccination rollout in a race to reach herd immunity, its constitutionality is certainly questionable. The imposition of safe pass is a measure which might exceed the permissible limits of proportionality because it might indirectly impose a violation of bodily integrity, it will categorise people; those who will hold the safe pass and those who for their own reasons do not want to be vaccinated or be submitted to the tests in question (exercising their constitutional rights) and finally because where the proportionality of the measure will be examined, it is very likely that in several cases the measure will be considered disproportionate.   

It is also our position that the indirect way in which either vaccination, or rapid/PCR tests, are being imposed, is not permissible.