COVID19: President warns Limassol to comply or else

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President Nicos Anastasiades has urged Limassol residents to comply with measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, warning of tougher restrictions if they don’t.

Limassol is at the epicentre of a spike in coronavirus cases and transmission, undoing Cyprus’ progress to contain the virus.

After scenes of people taking to the streets of Limassol to celebrate carnival time without masks or social distancing, Anastasiades gave a TV address on Tuesday night.

He said that despite the successful management of a catastrophic pandemic, the recent behaviour of a minority undermined society, “posing a visible danger to what we have achieved together”.

Anastasiades expressed his reluctance but was obligated to intervene due to the “unacceptable” events in Limassol, where people gathered for a carnival party.

He the COVID-19 facts concerning Limassol “speak for themselves”.

The country’s second-largest hospital, Limassol General, is already overcrowded, while COVID patients from Limassol make up 70% of available beds islandwide.

Since March 1, around 90% of those who lost their lives to coronavirus lived in Limassol, while 61% of the 4,571 new cases were from the town.

The President warned Limassol he would not allow the whole country to suffer due to the “reckless and unconscionable behaviour of a sad minority before the epidemiological data force us to take stricter and possibly local measures”.

He called for discipline while expressing the government’s gratitude for the “truly exemplary compliance of the measures shown by the vast majority”.

“We believe, not groundlessly, that we are very close to finally confronting the pandemic, but I want to emphasize that the battle is not over yet.”

His optimism is based on the government’s vaccination rollout and mass testing scheme.

“We are not far from returning to the living conditions that we have been deprived of for a year.”

Cyprus reported one death from COVID-19 on Tuesday, 475 new coronavirus cases and 221 hospital patients, pushing the death toll to 241 and 40,344 infections since the pandemic started.