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COVID19: Big events, nightclubs not before September

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Crowds at big events like weddings and concerts will see their number restricted for the foreseeable future while night clubs remain closed until September, the Cyprus Health Ministry said Wednesday.

It is taking a more cautious approach in gradually lifting crowd limits, after reviewing health guideline from institutions such as the World Health Organisation.

The ministry said it understands concerns and criticism by catering firms and big event professionals on the limits enforced on public gathering.

“But the WHO and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control warning of the exceptionally high risk of spreading Covid-19 at such events cannot be ignored,” a Health Ministry statement said.

“We understand the concerns and reactions by organised groups and professionals regarding the operation of evening entertainment establishments, events with large numbers of participants like concerts, festivals, fairs etc, as well as weddings with many guests,” it added.

The WHO and ECDC indicate an extremely increased risk of spreading the coronavirus by holding such large events while cases at big gatherings make tracing and controlling the transmission particularly difficult.

The ministry said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom, recently sounded the alarm over the risk of a resurgence of the pandemic and called on governments to be particularly careful and stringent as to the easing of restrictive measures.

Adhanom noted: “The new normal will not change unless a vaccine is found for Covid-19 and there is vaccination coverage”.

The Health Ministry insisted: “We need to be even more careful to curb the likelihood of a new outbreak in our country, which has been observed in recent weeks in Israel, Spain, Germany et al, where local lockdowns are already being imposed”.

It said there is no room for complacency despite Cyprus’ “very good” epidemiological status as a result of sacrifices by the entire society.

“Any easing of measures must be slow and targeted to prevent what happened in other countries which de-escalated measures too quickly.”

The Ministry said that the WHO and ECDC recommended to countries that they consider lifting this ban after September, always under stringent conditions and health protocols.

Βig events such as weddings, christenings as of 22 August until 15 September will be allowed to have more guests (physical presence at dinner) set at 350 people maximum.

Currently, weddings and other social gatherings can host up to 75 people in an indoor facility and 150 outdoors.