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COVID19: Cabinet to decide on Christmas restrictions

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The cabinet meets Wednesday to assess COVID-19 intervention measures while deciding what restrictions should be in place over the Christmas holidays.

Cyprus government spokesman Kyriakos Koushos told CNA the decisions will be announced on Friday by Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou.

President Nicos Anastasiades will convene his cabinet at 10.30 am Wednesday. Before that, at 9 am, he will preside over a meeting of the epidemiological advisory team for COVID.

After being briefed by the scientists, the Council of Ministers will decide on what will happen to the current measures and what will be the regime for Christmas, Koushos told CNA.

On whether the President will address the nations about any changes, the spokesman said this has not been discussed.

Meanwhile, members of the cabinet and the Presidential Palace staff underwent again on Tuesday COVID-19 tests.

Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

Following that Interior Minister Nicos Nouris, and Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos, who were among his close contacts, self-isolated.

Defence Minister, Charalambos Petrides, had also self-isolated after a person who attended a trilateral meeting of the Defence Ministers of Cyprus, Greece and Israel in Nicosia earlier this month, tested positive for COVID-19.

Although not yet clear what the committee of scientists advising the government on coronavirus will suggest, but given the virus is now widespread, a local lockdown imposed on Limassol and Paphos could be relaxed but tightened elsewhere.

According to reports, scientists will be suggesting that authorities keep measures tight until Christmas, allowing for some relaxations during the holiday season for people to celebrate with their loved ones.

Measures introduced to curb a rise in COVID-19 cases come to an end on 30 November, they include local lockdowns for Paphos and Limassol.

The situation in Paphos appears to have improved while Limassol cases are stabilising.

Paphos and Limassol went into lockdown on 13 November with a night curfew between 8 pm and 5 am and travel ban.

Shopping malls, department stores, restaurants, bars, Children’s play areas, high schools, hair salons, gyms, and beauty parlours also had to close.

In the rest of Cyprus, there is a late-night curfew from 11 pm to 5 am while bars, cafes and restaurants are required to close by 10:30 pm.

Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said that since the pandemic in March until September, only 28% of the cases were from Limassol and Paphos from October they accounted for 70%.

However, a rapid testing scheme launched by the government last week has shown that the situation in Paphos is improving significantly, but Limassol has yet to push cases downward.