COVID19: President to address nation amid calls for curfew

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Doctors are calling for a complete lockdown in Cyprus as Cypriots are not adhering to social distancing measures, President Nicos Anastasiades will address the nation on Monday to announce tougher restrictions.

The Cyprus Medical Association (CyMA) has urged the government to impose a complete ban on unnecessary movement to stem the spread of coronavirus “before it’s too late”.

In an announcement, the CyMA said the government needed to take stricter measures, suggesting an immediate “temporary total lockdown to halt the uncontrolled spread of the virus mainly from asymptomatic cases. It is absolutely necessary to support healthcare services and workers.”

It said there are no other options than a complete lockdown, as citizens are not abiding by instructions given by the government and health services.

Reports earlier Monday said the government might be looking to take stricter measures against people making unnecessary journeys.

Following the weekend, reports surfaced claiming that people were taking day trips to city parks, villages, and other outdoor spaces despite the rising coronavirus cases.

Images were showed people crowding in open-air markets and congregating public spaces.

As of Sunday, the total number of coronavirus cases reported in the Republic of Cyprus rose to 95.

Meanwhile, the Advisory Committee to the Health Ministry on the coronavirus outbreak, also said the government should take tougher measures to restrict unnecessary movement.

Talking to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), Infectious Disease specialist and Lecturer of Pathology at the University of Cyprus Medical School, Dr. Eleni Christaki, said they are looking into the possibility of a lockdown as people are not complying with instructions and decrees already in force.

“Lockdowns in countries such as Italy and Spain have yet to pay off as these kinds of measures take a week to 10 days to produce results. In China, the lockdown measure has paid off,” noted Christaki.

She noted that cases in Cyprus will continue to increase as authorities are still trying to trace all contacts of people who have contracted the virus.

“Meanwhile, a number of travellers who have self-isolated after recently returning from a country with an outbreak, are not in the clear as the virus can take up to two weeks to incubate,” she said.
“We believe that the virus is spreading within the community as there are a number of people out there, who are unaware that they have contracted the virus after coming in contact with a confirmed case”.

President Anastasiades is scheduled to address the nation on Monday at 8.30 pm.

Earlier Monday he chaired an inter-ministerial meeting at the Presidential Palace on the Covid-19 crisis. No announcements were made afterwards.

The cabinet reportedly has looked into measures which include a ban on gatherings in public spaces, such as parks, as well as the closure of open-air markets.

The President is also expected to announce the closure of building sites and factories that employ a large number of people with the exception of factories that are producing essentials.