Cyprus mulling tougher COVID-19 measures

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Cyprus Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou has not ruled out more drastic government measures to be announced in following the WHO’s decision to declare coronavirus a pandemic.

President Nicos Anastasiades convened a ministerial committee on coronavirus Thursday to review public health measures.

The government has already temporarily banned mass gatherings, closed all schools and universities while football matches will take place without spectators.

Ioannou said that despite the small number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Cyprus so far, the measures taken by Nicosia from the start were stricter than the recommendations of the WHO and the ECDC.

“We should not exclude the ministry taking more drastic measures in the coming days in light of the WHO decision to declare a pandemic, they are strictly and solely aimed at limiting, where possible, the virus’ spread throughout the country.”

He acknowledged the inconvenience caused to the public and the business community because of the measures taken but said the government’s top priority is to protect the population as much as possible.

For more effective action, Ioannou has set up a scientific committee with independent experts to complement the work of the Epidemiological Surveillance Unit of the Ministry of Health.

All schools throughout Cyprus will close from 13-20 March.

He said that schools in Nicosia which have been closed since Tuesday will also remain closed until next Friday.

The Education Ministry is examining the possibility of students receiving online education through distance learning, especially for those who are preparing for the Pancyprian examinations.