President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and Greek Premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis shared a telephone call on Monday to exchange views on the handling of the coronavirus pandemic and its aftermath.
In a written statement, Deputy Government Spokesman Panayiotis Sentonas said that the discussion focused mainly on the gradual lifting of restrictive measures and the reopening of sectors of economic activity, both in Greece and Cyprus, as the two countries launch the first of several stages to relax measures.
The two leaders also discussed issues that feature prominently in the EU agenda.
Both Greece and Cyprus launched the first phase of the easing of restrictions enforced to contain the coronavirus outbreak. In Cyprus, the retail, construction, and public sector resumed operation, while the public could request permission via the SMS system for up to three outings per day, up from one, for legitimate reasons.
Greece also saw the opening of small retail stores and hairdressers and the free movement of people within the prefecture of their permanent residence.
If all goes well, Cyprus announced it would launch the second phase of the easing of restrictions on May 21, scrapping restrictions on movement, allowing gatherings of up to 10 people, and allowing additional businesses including hairdressers to open their doors, among other things.
On May 18, the Greek government plans to allow free movement on the mainland. In practice, this means that everyone will be able to drive wherever they want.
However, the same will not apply on the islands. At the moment the plan stipulates that free movement on the islands will be allowed as of June 1 and will be accompanied by the opening of restaurants, cafes and year-round hotels.
On Sunday night, total coronavirus cases in the Republic of Cyprus climbed to 872, after eight new cases were announced, while so far 15 people have died, and 296 have recovered.
In Greece, reports on Monday said the death toll reached 145, while confirmed cases rose to 2,626 after six were announced Sunday.