COVID19: Cyprus countdown to reopening the economy

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Cyprus is preparing to gradually relax restrictions introduced to stem the spread of the coronavirus as cases have remained within the single-digit range five days running.

President Nicos Anastasiades is meeting with the ministerial committee handling the coronavirus crisis on Monday to hear their proposal on easing measures and reopening the economy from next month.

On Tuesday Anastasiades will meet the epidemiological monitoring unit advising him on handling the spread of the virus.

Τhe epidemiological team, set up by the Health Ministry, is expected to give the green light for the gradual lifting of the lockdown from early May.

Dr Leontios Kostrikis, a member of the health advisory team, said that based on ‘credible, encouraging evidence’ the committee will suggest the gradual lifting of restrictive measures introduced from 15 March.

On Sunday Cyprus announced 7 new cases of coronavirus, raising the total to 817 (including 10 in the British Bases).

Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou confirmed in a tweet: “This pleasant news opens the road to the next step. We have a plan for the gradual lifting of the restrictive measures and a return to normality”.

Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides also said a proposal for the first phase of lifting movement restrictions and kick-starting the economy will be finalised on Monday by a ministerial committee.

Meanwhile, Anastasiades is scheduled to chair another meeting regarding the reopening of the courts on Monday morning.

Officials have said during the last few days, restrictions will be lifted gradually with the government evaluating each relaxation every 15 days before moving on to the next phase.

Cyprus introduced its first restrictive measures on 11 March, a few days after the first two coronavirus cases were recorded on 9 March.

Since then a curfew has been imposed, all non-essential businesses closed, people only allowed outside once a day with a commercial flight ban imposed until mid-May.

The initial relaxation phase is to see construction reopening while barbers and hairdressers are to reopen under strict rules.