COVID19: Minister steps in after chaos at roadblocks

1 min read

Following a public outcry over the way police handled roadblocks on highways into Limassol and Paphos, causing long queues, Justice Minister Emily Yiolitis on Monday ordered police to only conduct random checks.

Since last Friday’s lockdown on the Paphos and Limassol districts, people wanting to travel have had to sit in kilometres-long traffic while police check every vehicle’s paperwork.

A lockdown, travel ban, and curfew of the towns will be in place until the end of November.

Yiolitis gave new instructions to police officers on Monday while at the Governor’s Beach roadblock, where she had seen with her own eyes the long traffic queues.

The Justice Minister appealed to the public, that only those who are exempt from the decree – such as essential workers – take to the highways during the lockdown and for Limassol Paphos residents to confine themselves as much as possible to their districts.

“I understand that some people will need to be allowed to travel, in order for the country to function, and we will definitely facilitate them.

“I have given instructions so that queues are not created. I urge my fellow citizens to use their exemption sparingly,” Yiolitis said.

She noted the order for randomly checking vehicles will also be valid when people exempted from the lockdown decree will need to carry a negative coronavirus test to be allowed past roadblocks.

People travelling to and from Limassol and Paphos will need to provide a negative COVID test from Wednesday, although those doing so for medical reasons will not need to do so.

“We are not aiming to catch offenders in the act. It is part of a policy we are pursuing to contain the pandemic. That is why I call on everyone to join forces.”

Police Traffic Department Director Ioannis Georgiou noted said rush-hour congestion was the result of a thorough inspection of each vehicle that passed through the roadblocks between 6:45 and 8:15.

Following the new instructions given by the Justice Minister traffic gridlock ease.

According to the latest epidemiological report released by the Health Ministry on Friday, Limassol’s 14-day cumulative notification rate on 8 November had risen to 516.9 per 100,000, as did Paphos at 226.4.

The 14-day cumulative notification rate for Famagusta is also dangerously rising at 178.4, Nicosia’s rate stands at 102.7 and Larnaca’s at 117.7.