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COVID19: Cyprus hopes to lift lockdown by July

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Cyprus Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou hopes that in two to three months all restrictive measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic will be lifted if new cases remain low.

He warned, however, that until a vaccine is discovered “we will have to learn to live with the coronavirus.”

“We will go ahead with a gradual easing of measures. I hope that in two to three months all measures will be lifted,” Ioannou to the Cyprus News Agency.

He said the gradual easing of measures will be evaluated on the basis of epidemiological evidence.

“If on the basis of the evaluation we are on a good track and we can proceed with a gradual but controlled easing of measures, I hope that in two to three months we will return to normality.”

The Minister of Health stressed that once measures are eased it should be expected that an increase in confirmed cases will occur, but it should be containable.

Ioannou clarified that no decision has yet to be taken on the date of easing the lockdown nor on the economic sectors which will begin to operate again.

“What I can tell you is that as a general rule, businesses or economic sectors which have to do with people will be the last to open…the more contact a business has with people, the later it will start operating again.”

The message from the data so far is an optimistic one, as positive coronavirus cases have reduced and hospital admissions are stable.

“Self-protection measures must become part of our daily routine and we must continue to take them.”

“whatever measures we may take in Cyprus, the virus knows no borders, therefore once airports begin to operate again the danger of importing the virus again and in great numbers will always be there.”

Therefore, he noted, “much thought must go into how they will start operating again.”

Referring to third-country nationals who are working in Cyprus, the Minister said that they also fall within the categories to be tested in the context of the 20,000-tests for frontline workers.

“There is a difficulty on the number of tests which can be completed on a daily but despite that, we are the only country which has gone ahead with pro-active testing of 20,000 samples.”

Ioannou said Cyprus ranks fourth in the world for the number of tests carried out per population.

“We are the only country who continues to follow the model of immediately locating positive cases and tracing their contacts, which has now been set as a necessary criterion for all countries easing measures.”

“We rank fourth in the world for testing. (source CNA)