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COVID19: No Cyprus lockdown as Limassol, Paphos to feel brunt

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Later on Wednesday, the cabinet is expected to announce local lockdowns for Limassol and Paphos where the spike in COVID-19 cases is highest rather than going for a total shutdown as in March.

To finalise what additional measures to introduce, President Nicos Anastasiades on Tuesday met government ministers responsible for handling the COVID-19 crisis.

Statements made afterwards by government Spokesperson Kyriacos Koushos hinted that tougher measures will be introduced at a local level but there will be no islandwide lockdown.

Koushos told reporters that a total lockdown was not discussed as an option.

In a written statement after the meeting, the spokesperson said that discussions focused on measures that need to be taken at a local and island-wide level, taking into consideration the country’s epidemiological data and the suggestions of the government’s team of experts.

With all options on the table, Limassol and Paphos face increased local restrictions in softer lockdown than before.

As it stands, Cyprus is operating under an unofficial tier system with Limassol and Paphos already facing heightened restrictions.

It would appear the experts are in favour of progressing with more targeted and gradual measures enforced at a local level when and where necessary.

Under such a scenario, Limassol and Paphos would go on lockdown with catering and hospitality closing altogether but schools are likely to remain open.

Reportedly, state officials are looking into a number of exemptions as the local lockdown is not expected to be as strict as the first island-wide lockdown imposed in March.

Extra measures will also be enforced islandwide, apart from the current overnight curfew.

It is understood that epidemiologists are pushing for measures to be stepped up, following the increase of admissions of COVID-19 patients to hospitals and, subsequently the increase in deaths, with three more being announced on Tuesday.

The measures are to be announced on Wednesday evening, after being approved by the cabinet which is meeting at 7.45 pm.

The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital is 76, as the national health system feels the strain.

On Tuesday, Cyprus saw a rise in SARS-CoV-2 cases to 198, up from 111 on Monday but not far reduced from the record 314 on November 8, that prompted more emergency meetings.

In total Cyprus has reported 6,296 coronavirus cases – the majority since October.