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COVID is not over

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Anxious to hastily remove all restrictions and measures, as if the coronavirus had not passed through Cyprus, officials seem to be unaware of the virus recurring in China’s commerce and wealth capital, Shanghai.

Lockdowns over the past few weeks, the impact of which will be felt in Cyprus, have slowed trade in the world’s busiest container port.

Vessels are already lined up offshore, similar to what happened two years ago, when production lines halted, and ships were not loaded, causing a global chain reaction.

What’s worse is that now, trucking snarl-ups across China are wreaking havoc on supply chains, while Nanjing, the largest inland port globally, has become the latest to report a Covid outbreak among its workforce leading to much of the port’s operations being shuttered.

Even the grand port of Los Angeles did not escape the wrath of the disease, with handlers seeking alternative landings to offload their containers and goods, with the ripple effect continuing throughout the past year.

There is no doubt that everyone wants to return to some sense of normalcy.

But to act as if we have not seen nearly 1,000 deaths and about 450,000 infections, many of whom re-infections for a second or even third time, is naïve.

Business groups have pressured the government to remove all Covid restrictions. They see the summer season ahead as a critical juncture that will determine the survival of many enterprises, large and small, subsequently affecting household incomes.

Ironically, the restaurant, café and bar owners have been targeted all this time by the restrictions.

Yet, they have been at the frontline of the economic recovery and are probably the most dedicated to implementing measures.

You only need to go to a pharmacy, supermarket, martial arts gym or local futsal facility to see how personal hygiene measures are not implemented, with nothing learned during the past 24 months.

As long as there are people who ignore these measures, leaning over your shoulder and sneezing or coughing in your face, we have no other choice than to keep a measure of strictness.

Only when daily cases drop significantly below 1,000, with fewer deaths and hospitalisations in the lower double digits, should we have proceeded with a universal lifting of personal measures.

It is ludicrous to use tourists as an excuse, saying that they will not opt for holidays in Cyprus or will not venture out of their hotel to go to a local taverna.

Tourists are far better behaved and abide by the rules, perhaps more so than is required.

On the contrary, they would prefer to book a holiday in a country where measures are still in place, as they also need peace of mind when on vacation.

The locals need to stick to basic hygiene rules, something we have never learnt—face, space, hands.