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Coronavirus: Easing of measures starts, more people in the office

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The first phase of easing restrictive measures started on Monday morning as people returning to work have tested for the coronavirus.

Barbershops, hairdressers and beauty salons will reopen.

There is also an increase from 25 per cent to 50 per cent of staff that can have a physical presence in private service companies.

Gatherings in homes are still prohibited, with the exception of the visit of up to two people. The ministry has advised people to keep to the same two people.

From next Monday, February 8, the following will also apply:

Reopening of public and private primary schools. Third year lyceum students will also return.

Reopening of retail businesses, including department stores and malls.

Reopening of betting shops only for the purposes of completing the ticket, without the use of seating.

Reopening of museums and other archaeological sites.

Church services with a maximum of 50 people observing the health protocols.

Increase in the number of people for home visits, to four.

The 9pm-5am curfew remains in place. The number of outings per day is still restricted to two and SMS permission to leave home is still required. A number, 9 has been added to the options for hairdressers and beauticians. For house visits, people will have to use 5.

Outings to Troodos mountain trails are not allowed at present.

Health minister Constantinos Ioannou said the aim of the two-stage easing of the lockdown was to restrict movement and contacts as much as possible.

Under the new measures, those returning to their workplace on Monday needed to have got tested by January 31. Those returning on February 8 must also have a negative test.

There will also be obligatory weekly rapid testing among staff already physically present in their workplaces (those who continued to work during the lockdown).

The authorities have raised the number of testing stations to cope with increased demand.

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