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COVID19: Cyprus bans shisha pipe use in hospitality

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A blanket ban on the supply and use of shisha pipes in cafes and bars was introduced by the Cyprus Health Ministry Thursday as a coronavirus measures.

The ministry said, “supply and use of hookahs in restaurants and bars establishments are prohibited until there are new scientific developments in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic”.

It did not elaborate on what scientific evidence it was looking for while leaving the ban open-ended.

The ban comes days after a shisha pipe establishment in Limassol was closed after it was linked to a coronavirus cluster.

There is a fear that coronavirus can spread through hookah sharing.

Cyprus is introducing tougher restrictions after seeing COVID cases soaring to record highs since the outbreak. Total cases now total 2,181.

The government has also reduced the number of people allowed at indoors cinemas, event halls and theatres in Limassol and Nicosia to a maximum 50% of capacity.

Previously a maximum number of 75 people indoors and 150 people outdoors were allowed.

The new measure lasts until 10 am Friday 23 October in the districts of Nicosia and Limassol, following a significant increase of COVID19 cases.

Use of masks by the audience and staff in such places is mandatory.

From Thursday the use of a mask is mandatory in all indoor spaces with more than two people.

“The only effective treatment is to abide by measures and protocols. In short, the responsibility to contain (the virus) lies with us,” said Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou on Wednesday

He referred to a large increase of cases among young people urging them to follow social distancing measures and curb their contacts.