Limiting the contact between people and minimising the possibility of the virus spreading in a work or social setting is the main goal of the new measures announced on Wednesday evening, Cyprus Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou has said.
Ioannou, who was addressing a press conference yesterday to announce a set of new measures following an address by Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, said that the greatest problem as regards the coronavirus containment effort is managing the great number of contacts each person who tests positive for COVID-19 has.
The work of contact tracing is burdened on a daily basis due to the large number of contacts reported by each person who tests positive, he noted.
“The main goal of the measures announced, is precisely to limit contacts and to minimise the possibility of virus transmission to other people from the work or social environment,” he pointed out.
Ioannou acknowledged that measures in place “are not pleasant” for anyone, adding however that they are “our only weapon right now so that we can prevent a deterioration of our epidemiological situation and safeguard public health.”
The Minister of Health urged everyone to be vigilant and to follow protocols in place as they are the only way to protect vulnerable groups of people and the elderly who are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill. He further expressed his conviction that everyone understands the need to behave responsibly once more for the good of the individual and the collective good alike.
New measures across Cyprus between November 12 – 30
The new measures announced by Ioannou for Cyprus as a whole will be in place from 20.00 hours local time (18.00 GMT) today until November 30, 2020.
The operation of playgrounds, theme parks, amusement parks is suspended.
It is prohibited to for conferences, trade and art exhibitions, conferences and events to take place.
Visitors will no longer be allowed in homes for the elderly, centres where patients with long-term ailments reside, homes for vulnerable groups of people, homeless shelters, day centres, child protection centres. People visiting disabled people are exempt, but each disabled person is allowed to have two visits per week and when an exceptional need arises the possibility of more visits can be reviewed.
The operation of camping sites is also suspended, while entry and / or exit from asylum reception and immigrant detention centres is not allowed apart from people working there or for humanitarian and /or medical reasons following permission granted by the Ministry of Interior.
Retail food and drink businesses such as super markets, mini markets, butchers, as well as chemists will only serve people over 65 or the disabled between their opening hours and 10.00 hours.
More strict measures for Limassol and Pafos
Ioannou also announced more strict measures for Limassol and Pafos districts which will also apply between November 12 and 30, 2020.
He noted that from the start of the pandemic until September 28% of positive COVID-19 cases were located in Limassol and Pafos, while in October and until today 70% of positive cases were located in the two districts.
From October 28 until today he said, out of 2,644 COVID-19 cases reported, 1,788 were from Limassol and Pafos, while between 7 and 11 November 605 out of 904 positive cases were located in the two districts.
He added that 49 out of 68 patients treated in hospital on Tuesdays were from the two districts and expressed concern that from October 31st onwards eight people have died, seven of whom were permanent residents of Limassol and Pafos.
Measures include a curfew between 20.00 hours and 05.00 the following day, exempting movement for extraordinary medical reasons or for work. People moving between those hours will be required to present a relevant document by their employer or other proof.
Movement between as well as to and from the two districts is also prohibited. Essential workers and the transport of people to and from the Larnaca and Pafos airports and Limassol port are exempt.
Gatherings in public spaces, such as parcs, squares, dams, picnic areas, pedestrian streets and marinas are also prohibited. Up to two people for purposes of exercise are exempt as well as their underage children.
The maximum amount of people allowed to gather in each household is 10, including those who are underage, a measure already in place across the island.
Religious services will be performed without the presence of other people, while religious ceremonies such as weddings, christenings and funerals will take place with the participation of a maximum number of 10 people.
Public and private lyceums and higher education institutions will operate via distance learning. Kindergartens, public primary and secondary schools will continue to operate in person.
The public sector including local administration will operate with a minimum staff for urgent matters and citizens’ services will be offered for extraordinary needs. Public servants who are not essential workers will perform their duties online, or in rotation. Essential workers are exempt and will continue to work as usual following at the same time all relevant health protocols.
No visitors are allowed in public or private hospitals, clinics, medical and diagnostic centres.
Establishments offering food such as restaurants, taverns, cafeterias, pizza places, pubs, snack-bars, canteens in sports clubs, cultural clubs, unions etc suspend normal operations and are allowed to offer only take away or delivery services.
Delivery drivers will be allowed to move after the curfew of 20.00 while restaurants in hotels or tourist accommodation are allowed to operate until 2230 hours to serve customers who are staying at the establishment.
Pafos Airport establishments which offer food are exempt.
Archaeological sites, museums and historic spaces, theatres, amphitheaters, cinemas and other entertainment venues also have to suspend operations.
Outdoors fresh produce markets will have to operate with a 50% of usual occupancy, the operation of indoors shopping centres, department stores and shops with an area greater than 500 sqm is suspended.
The operation of beauty salons, tattoo parlours, hairdressers and barbers, gyms, driving schools, gambling establishments, casinos, public swimming pools, with the exception of disabled people using them for treatment purposes or for training with a maximum number of four people including the coach.
Gyms, pools and spa operating in hotels or tourist accommodation premises are exempt for customers who are staying in the premises.
Limassol port will only operate for commercial transactions and activities.
Passengers of cruise ships will be prohibited from disembarking.
Sports training and sports events for people under 18 are suspended, apart from fist division championships and national team events. The operation and use of organised sports premises is also prohibited. Exemptions will be set out in a relevant Decree.