COVID19: Limassol could stay in lockdown for longer

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As Cyprus prepares to ease more lockdown restrictions next week, scientists may keep Limassol under tighter measures than the rest of the country, as COVID-19 cases have spiralled there.

Reportedly, scientists are worried over the spread of the virus in Limassol, as two-thirds of all daily cases are from the district. Simultaneously, the positivity rate from coronavirus tests doubled on Tuesday, compared to previous weeks, from an average of 0.5% to 0.96%.

According to Health Ministry sources, authorities are contemplating easing restrictions at a slower pace in Limassol, which will face local measures.

The third phase of easing lockdown starts on Monday, but hospitality venues are not expected to open, nor will a night-time curfew be lifted.

The government is concerned over the return of High school students, as COVID-19 cases have reappeared in schools that have opened.

Primary and final year high school students returned to class on 8 February, with the rest of the student population expected to return on Monday.

However, in light of recent cases found, students could be returning gradually, with just the first and second year of Lyceum returning on Monday.

Health authorities say contact tracers in recent days have found greater transmission of coronavirus within families and workplaces than the first wave of infections, which could also slow the easing of lockdown.

Scientists are concerned that businesses are not conforming to health protocols, with employees avoiding getting tested weekly.

Businesses are allowed to have up to 50% of their staff at work on the condition they follow the weekly testing guideline.

A minimum of 20% of employees need to be tested weekly.

A second lockdown was imposed on January 10 after new daily coronavirus cases soared to 907 on December 29.

Exiting the lockdown started in February when hairdressers and barbers were allowed to reopen, followed by non-essential shops and employees returning to offices.

Apart from going to work and school, people can only leave their homes twice a day via SMS approval.

As of Monday, gyms are expected to re-open, dance schools, organised sports for children and adults.

The number of people allowed in theatres and cinemas may be increased, from the current cap of 50 people, although cinemas have opted not to open yet.

A ban on visiting nature trails and the mountain regions is also expected to be lifted.