Cabinet will decide Friday on the type of national lockdown Cyprus will enter to allow breathing space for the health service and a COVID-19 vaccination rollout.
It is expected that Cyprus will go into lockdown from Sunday with the government is set to announce tighter measures to ease the COVID caseload in hospitals.
A three-week lockdown, much like the one introduced back in March, seems the likeliest scenario, to be announced following Friday’s cabinet meeting.
Authorities are expected to impose extra curbs on movement with citizens needing approval via text message to leave the home.
There are a record 196 people hospitalised, coming close to the current 200-bed capacity reserved for Covid-19 patients.
The ever-growing number of COVID-19 patients has pushed authorities to allocate more beds in public hospitals.
By early next week, Larnaca General Hospital should be ready to allocate 40 beds in a dedicated coronavirus ward while talks are underway for Paphos General Hospital to set aside around 30 beds.
Hinting at a general lockdown, government spokesman Kyriakos Koushos has said the Labour, Finance and Health Ministers would table their proposals to support businesses and employees.
The new measures as well as financial support schemes will be announced after Friday’s Cabinet meeting.
Koushos said that ministers agreed with epidemiologists advising the government, on the need to take additional measures.
It is understood Cyprus will be going into lockdown, much like the one introduced in March, when all non-essential businesses closed with people only allowed to leave their homes twice a day for shopping or exercise.
Essential services such as supermarkets, pharmacies, petrol stations and possibly the construction sector will remain open while remote learning for schools will be reintroduced.
The following measures could be in effect from Sunday:
- A 9 pm to 5 am curfew will remain in place, with citizens allowed to send in two requests to leave their homes each day.
- The government may give an extra SMS for those who wish to leave their homes to get tested at a rapid testing station.
- Private sector businesses which are to remain open and do not have face-to-face contact with clients will be allowed to continue operations under strict protocols, with authorities expected to demand that non-essential staff be sent to work from home.
- Restaurants and cafes can offer only delivery services.
- Banks will operate under tight restrictions, and only for transactions that cannot be carried out online.
- Hairdressers, beauty salons and tattoo parlours are to close.
- Businesses which were closed with earlier decrees are to remain shut.
- Hotels may remain open to cater to foreign tourists who have already made bookings. As of Sunday, Cypriots will not be allowed to book or check into a hotel.
- With the exception of preschool kids, all students are to continue their education remotely.
- All sporting events, with the exception of top-flight leagues, are called off.