A partial lockdown is expected to go into effect in the Republic of Cyprus some time after Friday, when the President’s Cabinet will decide on new measures to fight further spread of the coronavirus through the end of the month.
According to local media, ministers of Health, Finance, Labour, and Education have been working on a package of measures to present to the Cabinet on Friday, following advice from health experts who said COVID-19 hospitalizations have been putting a strain on the healthcare system.
The meeting, initially scheduled for Thursday, was pushed back another day to allow some ministers to assess the health ministry’s plan and crunch numbers to propose counter-measures. The health measures are expected to be announced after the Cabinet meeting on Friday and would likely go into effect Sunday early morning, according to local media, while support measures are expected to be made public early next week.
Text messages required for outings
Reports said measures within a “partial lockdown” would include reestablishing the SMS service 8998, similar to last year, requiring citizens to notify authorities via text message for approval before going outside for a legitimate reason up to at least twice a day.
During the three-week partial lockdown, supermarkets and bakeries are expected to operate normally, as well as pharmacies, convenience stores, mini markets, and body shops, while food take out and fuel delivery will also continue to operate. Special arrangements are also expected for banks.
Airpots remain open, hotels can honour bookings
Airports and sea ports will remain open during the partial lockdown, with the government expected to announce that hotels will also continue to operate under terms and conditions, such as pre-existing reservations for foreign travelers.
On the contrary, hair salons and barbershops, massage and tattoo parlors, flee markets, dance schools, and gyms will remain closed until January 31, including churches which could hold services but without participants.
Schools are expected to remain closed and operate through remote learning, with reports saying exceptions could be made for kindergartens and daycare facilities.
Civil servants will have to work from home if their work is considered non-essential, while similar guidelines will be issued for the private sector, according to local media.