Cyprus Mail

Coronavirus: Lockdown ruled out as meetings held to set new measures


Government sources on Tuesday ruled out a lockdown as advisors deliberated tighter measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus, amid a surge in daily infections.

Government spokesman Marios Pelekanos said President Nicos Anastasiades would meet the  government advisors at 6.30pm following their own meeting with Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas, scheduled at 3pm.

The president will be briefed on the epidemiological situation and discuss measures with the advisory committee. Other ministers whose responsibilities will be affected by any measures will also be in the meeting with the president.

With the daily infection rate rocketing, forcing thousands of people who are either cases or contacts, into isolation, it is expected that experts will recommend tighter measures though a lockdown does not appear to be among the options.

Ahead of the meeting, a source told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) that while some experts were for extending school holidays for another week, the majority leaned towards letting them open on Monday – a view reportedly backed by the education ministry.

Other restrictions are reportedly on the table, including lowering the limit for home gatherings from 20 to 10 people and stricter measures for social events like weddings and christenings.

The rules regarding bars, cafés and restaurants are also likely to change, with further restrictions on the total number of people allowed per venue, a set midnight closing time, and even a complete closure of nightclubs for a period of two to four weeks.

The same source said that the upcoming Epiphany celebrations are also a concern as events usually draw large crowds, with experts likely to ask for strict measures to be placed to avoid a further spread of the virus.

Lastly, some experts were said to support lowering the self-isolation period from 10 to five days, which was ruled out by the health ministry, according to the Cyprus News Agency.

Final decisions will be made by the cabinet on Wednesday.


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