COVID19: President to address nation as restrictions tighten

1 min read

President Nicos Anastasiades on Wednesday evening will urge the nation to abide by new restrictions as tougher measures are announced to stop the spread of COVID-19.

After the President’s televised address, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou will announce the new measures decided on.

While stricter measures across Cyprus are on the way, it is understood that the districts of Limassol and Paphos will see the introduction of a local lockdown.

With all options still on the table, measures are to be approved at a cabinet meeting just 45 minutes before the President goes live to the nation at 8.30 pm.

Government advisors have urged for a second lockdown in the coastal town of Limassol and Paphos where the number of infections is alarmingly high, which will see residents restricted to their districts.

This means that citizens will be able to move freely within their districts, without the need to acquire permission, but they will not be able to travel to other towns.

At the same time, the night-time curfew is expected to be brought forward from 11 pm to 9 pm with restaurants, bars and coffee shops closing even earlier.

The authorities are keen to keep schools open.

Reportedly, the government has taken into consideration that a number of private and public sector employees need to travel between districts to get to their workplaces, they will be granted exemption status.

The measures were suggested by the government’s advisory committee on handling the coronavirus outbreak and were given the initial go-ahead by a ministerial committee overseeing the country’s response to the virus.

Following a meeting with experts on Monday, Anastasiades had said that the island’s healthcare system is in “extremely good shape” but warned that the system and the economy would not be able to cope if things get out of hand as it has in other European countries.

The country’s epidemiological picture has taken a turn for the worse as cases have largely remained in three digits over the past two weeks and it is believed that only tighter restriction can stop the spread.

“We are trying to prevent the worse, we are concerned about the economy, the stress the public is under and the health situation in general,” Anastasiades told reporters Tuesday.

“We are deeply concerned by the surge, especially among young people, and what will happen if this affects elderly people and the strain this will cause our hospitals.”

On Tuesday, the number of patients in hospital had reached 76.

Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou tweeted Monday: “These are difficult times. We are doing all that his humanly possible to face the danger. Our priority remains the protection of public health.”

Cyprus now has 6,296 COVID-19 cases since the outbreak in early March.