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Coronavirus: Cyprus enters two-week lockdown as hospital admissions surge


Cyprus has entered a lockdown again in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus on the island and contain hospital admissions.

The new lockdown is in effect on Monday, April 26 until May 9 at midnight.

According to Minister of Health Constantinos Ioannou, a curfew is in place from 9 pm until 5 am.  Only one trip outside is allowed per person per day via a text  message  to 8998. Movement for vaccination purposes against Covid-19, does not require a text message.

It was announced that people could attend church services throughout Holy Week with conditions.

Between Holy Monday and Holy Friday only up to 50 people will be allowed inside churches, as long as they can present a vaccine certificate dated back at least three weeks.

Unvaccinated members of the public will be allowed to attend mass in church courtyards but will have to be seated and observe social distancing and other health protocols.

As regards Holy Saturday, again, up to 50 people will be allowed inside the church but on this occasion, not only people who have been vaccinated but everyone. The curfew will be extended until an hour after midnight to accommodate churchgoers. Worshippers will be allowed in church courtyards on Easter Sunday but must be seated.

With the exception of Holy Saturday, all other church services will end by 8.30pm to allow people enough time to go home before the 9pm curfew.

Also on all other days, church and other forms of religious worship in religious places will be performed without the presence of worshippers.  Religious ceremonies (weddings, christenings, funerals) can be held with a maximum of 10 persons are allowed.  The presence of worshippers in places of religious worship is permitted for the purpose of individual prayer and with a maximum number of 10 persons present at the same time.

Meetings, public gatherings or social events, irrespective of venue (private or public spaces),  indoors or outdoors (e.g. squares,  dams,  picnic  areas, marinas) are prohibited.  By way of exception and only for Easter Sunday (May 2), in addition to permanent residents, persons from only two families may be present in houses, provided that the total number of persons in the house does not exceed 10 persons, including minors. Two SMS messages for movement will be allowed on Easter Day.

The operation of all restaurants (restaurants, tavernas, cafes, pubs, snack bars and bars, cafeterias and dining areas in shopping centres, canteens and/or sports clubs, cultural centres, clubs, unions, etc.) is suspended, with the exception of the services related to delivery and take away. It is understood that after 9 p.m. only home delivery is allowed.

The operation of open and closed theatres, amphitheatres, cinemas and event venues is suspended as well as the operation of retailers, other than retailers of beverages and food, or sales of essentials as defined in the Decree.  Also suspended is the operation of gyms, dance schools and other sports schools.  Personal training is allowed in open spaces, where access is allowed on the basis of  the  Decree  with  a  maximum  number  of  two  persons present.

The operation of gambling and betting shops, barber  shops,  hair  salons  and  beauty salons is suspended. All group tutorials, as well as sports and social activities for children under the age of 18 are prohibited. It is understood that distance learning and teaching with a physical presence of up to two persons, including the teacher/trainer (1+ 1) are permitted.

Remote work in public service is compulsory for at least 20 % of the staff, with the exception of essential and other services, which will be defined by a Decree.

For private service providers the simultaneous physical presence of 20% of the staff is allowed, with a minimum number of three employees and a maximum of 25 employees per professional practice/legal entity.  Increase of the mandatory rate of rapid testing on a weekly basis to 50% of employees. It is understood that businesses/services that will have a physical presence of up to five (5) persons, testing is mandatory for all five persons.

As  of 10 May 2021, the above measures are lifted and the arrangements  in force are reinstated, provided that in places where there is a gathering (dining areas,  meeting  places,  gyms,  retail  shops,  theatres,  etc.), the visitor should carry a rapid test or  PCR  valid for 72  hours or  have been vaccinated with at least the first dose of the vaccine three weeks before or to have been infected by the Covid-19 during the last three months.

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