A week after Cyprus health authorities imposed stricter measures in Larnaca district where Covid-19 infections had spiralled in September, the health ministry announced it was extending the same measures to the capital Nicosia and Limassol, where clusters of coronavirus cases had appeared.
The measures are effective for 10 days starting from Monday afternoon until the morning of Friday, October 23.
Justifying the decision, the health ministry said it imposed harsher regulations “due to a rapid increase in Covid-19 cases, mainly in workplaces and during family gathering or events.
The past week saw the second highest rate of new SARS-CoV-2 cases since the pandemic started in March, with a total of 182 cases and three deaths.
The new measures are as follows:
- A maximum of ten people per group or family within homes or public areas, including children, with the exception of dining facilities (restaurants, cafes).
- No more than 75 people at religious services and ceremonies. However, cocktail receptions for weddings and christenings are banned, but allow only sit-down banquets with no more than 350 guests.
- Sports events will be allowed, but without any fans or supporters in the stands, while clubs visiting other districts are discouraged from taking their fans along.
- Restaurants and cafes are limited to 75 people indoors and 150 outdoors, maintaining the rate of one person for 3sq.m. for closed areas and one person per 2sq.m. for open-air venues. Reservations and seating are capped at 10 per table.
- Cinemas and theatres can accommodate 75 people indoors and 150 outdoors.
The health ministry urged workers and employers to stick to the rules and maintain strict health protocols, “because it is evident from recent results and clusters that there are infection chains at specific venues, suggesting that regulations are not being implemented.”
Earlier in the day, the ministry of health sent out a bulk-text message to thousands of mobile subscribers calling for the triple measures of sanitising hands, wearing a mask and keeping a distance.
“ ‘Hands-mask-distance’ is our shield against Covid, until a vaccine is found,” said the text message, the second since August 13 when it urged holidaymakers to keep the same hygiene protocols.