Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou on Monday announced harsher measures to stem the coronavirus outbreak, including a daily curfew between 9 pm and 6 am after some Cypriots ignored social distancing laws.
People will only be allowed to leave their homes once a day for approved essential activity only.
The measures come after a massive increase in the daily number of confirmed coronavirus cases.
On Sunday, Cyprus announced 35 new cases and one death, bringing COVID-19 related deaths to 6.
Many of the cases were relatives of people who were instructed to self-isolate after coming into contact with known cases of COVID-19.
Reports suggest that a large number of cases announced Sunday were present at a family gathering at the home of a person who was told self-isolate.
Only people who are working and carrying the necessary documentation of proof (Certificate A) will be allowed to move after 9 pm.
Talking at a press conference on Monday, Ioannou said that the new measures come into force as of 6 am Tuesday.
The Minister also made it clear that house visits and gatherings are also forbidden and people will only be allowed out once a day.
Police officers and members of the neighbourhood watch will be tasked to oversee that no violations take place regarding the above.
Asked, Ioannou said that the officers can enter someone’s house only if given permission by the owner or tenants.
People will only be allowed out of their homes for reasons other than work once a day, after approval via SMS.
Citizens wanting to leave their homes will need to send an SMS to 8998 stating the reason they wish to move. The format is X (number notifying the reason), space, ID or passport number, space, postal code.
Paper documentation, formerly used by citizens to state the reason for leaving their premises, will only be applicable for citizens aged over 60.
The spot fine for those found disobeying the ban on free movement has doubled from €150 to €300.
In an effort to protect shop workers in essential services; supermarkets, mini-market, grocery stores, bakeries, butcheries, will close on Sundays.
There will be stricter controls on monitoring those with coronavirus who are in self-isolation.
Specifically, the minister said that these people will be electronically tagged with a bracelet “the sort prisoners in house arrest wear”.
Ioannou also announced that the maximum number of people allowed in a single private vehicle will be 3.
- A curfew between 9 pm – 6 am for everyone except those working in essential services
- All supermarkets, bakeries, mini-markets, grocery stores etc will close on Sundays but can do delivery
- People will only be allowed out the house with permission once a day
- No more than 3 people in a vehicle
- Nobody except permanent residents/tenants allowed in a home – no gatherings/visits
- On the spot fine for breaking social distancing rules increase from €150 to €300
- Electronic tagging of those who are positive for coronavirus isolating at home
- Neighbourhood watch can check residences
Getting people home
Ioannou also added that authorities will facilitate the return of people who travelled abroad for medical reasons and their escorts, but also of students belonging to vulnerable groups.
These groups are exempt from presenting a health certificate showing they do not have coronavirus to be allowed entry.
Patients returning from abroad will need confirmation from a Cyprus embassy or consulate.
Students will need proof that they belong to a vulnerable group. Students interested can apply via email at [email protected].
All people returning will be quarantined for a period of 14 days and tested for the virus.
People returning from treatment abroad will self-quarantine at home.
Those who may have coronavirus symptoms should first contact their General Practitioner who will advise what to do next.
People who need to be checked will be sent to medical centres, some 200 people are currently being checked on a daily basis.
Ioannou said that equipment and medical supplies are sufficient for the moment and in the coming days.
“No country can boast that they are in a position to care for a large number of cases at once. We have succeeded, with the contribution of Aegean airlines to secure a shipment of supplies from China”.
He took the opportunity to thank China for donating supplies, noting that the government is working on bringing more supplies over the coming days.
Ioannou noted that “there is no approved treatment for the virus. However, medicines approved by the drugs committee for the treatment of other coronaviruses can be used. Stocks of this medication are at a satisfactory level”.
He said that these drugs will be made available at pharmacies which will be announced.
Ioannou thanked companies and the public for offering donations, equipment and supplies, calling on everyone to stay home.
Cyprus authorities have announced 214 cases of COVID-19 and 6 deaths as of Sunday.