Clarifications regarding people’s movement after the lockdown is lifted on May 10 will be announced in the upcoming days, the health ministry said on Tuesday.
The ministry is in the process of refining the new measures that will be enforced after the lockdown is lifted, spokeswoman Margarita Kyriacou told Cybc, as the epidemiological team is expected to have a teleconference late on Tuesday.
A cabinet meeting is also scheduled for Wednesday, where Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou will “probably” reassess the country’s epidemiological picture. Decisions are expected to be announced on Wednesday or in the next few days, Kyriacou said.
The spokeswoman appeared positive that the country would exit lockdown next week. But members of the ministry’s epidemiological team told the media that the picture will be clearer by the end of this week and refused to confirm the lifting of lockdown next Monday.
Fewer cases were traced in the previous days as significant number of tests were carried out since the lockdown startted, especially over the Easter weekend. Petros Karayiannis, professor of microbiology and molecular virology at the University of Nicosia Medical School said people who became infected over the holidays will be identified in the next couple of days.
Kararayiannis expressed cautious optimism saying that the daily positivity rate had stabilised at around 1.3 to 1.4 per cent, while the daily tally of cases dropped from approximately 900 to 600 before Easter, he added though he did not mention that some 20,000 fewer tests were being done every day.
“We hope that by the end of the week we will start seeing the real picture of the [epidemiological] situation,” Maria Koliou, the assistant professor of paediatrics and infectious diseases at the University of Cyprus’ medical school said, which will allow the team to submit its recommendations to the ministry.
Last month, the health minister said visiting crowded venues once they reopen will require a negative Covid test carried out within the last 72 hours or being vaccinated with at least one dose of the vaccine three weeks prior, or having gone through the illness in the past three months. The SMS system will also remain in force, the minster had said.
It was not clarified which venues are included in the new restriction such as whether people would need to be vaccinated or tested to go shopping for food as well.
According to Kyriacou, officials will be assigned to perform checks in those places to ensure people abide by the new measures.
Meanwhile, the head of the Cyprus Hotels Association Philokipros Rousounides told the Cybc that hotels will be made available for domestic tourism next Monday. Up to date, locals were banned from staying at hotels and Airbnb’s despite those establishments being open for tourists.
Vaccination in Cyprus remains optional, while regular testing is obligatory for the workforce and school children.