COVID19: Cyprus road map out of  lockdown

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President Nicos Anastasiades met the epidemiological advisory body on Tuesday to discuss a four-phase road map out of the lockdown enforced since mid-March to stem the spread of coronavirus.

The epidemiological advisory committee’s proposals will be tabled before the cabinet on Wednesday for final approval.

The lifting of restrictions is due to take place gradually in four stages from early May.

Each new stage is to be introduced after two weeks from the previous one if numbers of new daily COVID-19 cases do not spike.

Health experts back a gradual lifting of measures, as daily cases have remained in the single-digit range for a week, boosting the scientists’ confidence that Cyprus can relax restrictions on free movement and get the economy on a roll again.

Presenting the data for new coronavirus cases on Monday, professor Leontios Kostrikis of the advisory body said the picture was optimistic because of the downward trend in new cases, adding that the body would suggest the lifting of restrictions.

On Monday, Cyprus saw 5 new cases, with three cases involving people who were recently repatriated and quarantined upon arrival.

Kostrikis pointed out however that the government would be the one making the final decisions.

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.

The first phase is to see construction sites reopening with maybe barbers and hairdressers reopening under tight controls.

If hair salons are not included in the first stage, they are to be included in the second phase, which is expected around May 25.

This phase will also see sports teams allowed to return to training at the end of May, while thoughts are being given to reopening gyms, however, the views on this issue differ.

The second phase could also see children returning to kindergartens.

In the third phase, cafes, restaurants, bars, hotels and possibly churches are expected to open.

In the final stage, some commercial flights will be allowed from countries with low COVID-19 cases while crossing points are expected to reopen.

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.