COVID19: Hospitality opens doors as virus spreads

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Cyprus took another step out of lockdown Tuesday with hospitality allowed to operate outdoor facilities, and the curfew pushed back two hours, but hospital COVID-19 patients have doubled from a month ago.

Although the government has decided to loosen the reigns slightly, primary schools in Limassol are closed until 31 March, and middle school students will also not return to class just yet.

The Health Ministry says the epidemiological situation remains worrisome as state hospitals continue to admit patients with COVID-19.

On Monday, a total of 208 patients receiving treatment, 40 of whom are in serious condition or in an Advance Care Unit (ACU).

Last month there were only 86 patients receiving treatment in COVID wards.

The test positivity rate in Limassol – the island’s COVID hotspot — reached 1.72% on Monday, well above the island’s average of 0.94%.

Restaurants, bars, and cafes can resume operations outdoors, and a curfew in place from 9 pm until 5 am is moved to 11 pm.

People are still restricted to two SMS messages for leaving home apart from work.

Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said the measures were decided after considering the increased burden placed on the health system and the psychological effects the lockdown is having on society as a whole.

Some 25% of the service industry employees will have to be submitted to a rapid antigen test every week.

Up to six people from different households can also gather in open spaces such as parks, but they must wear a mask.

Total COVID-19 infections during the past year are now 39,869, and 240 deaths.