President Nicos Anastasiades got personal in his address to the nation on Wednesday night, calling on citizens to do their fair share to stop the spread of the coronavirus while announcing stricter measures in all districts including a night curfew.
Anastasiades made a public appeal immediately after an emergency Cabinet meeting, telling citizens that he understood their frustration due to a “sudden change of way of life” and especially young people who have been asked to “go against their nature and do without things they are entitled to enjoy.”
“Today I speak to you not as president but as a father, a grandfather, a parent who worries about what might happen to his loved ones but also his fellow citizens,” Anastasiades said.
The president warned that, according to the health experts advising his administration, a failure to comply fully with measures against the spread of the pandemic would bring about “disproportionate consequences.”
A package of new measures in all districts in the Republic of Cyprus include a night curfew starting Thursday 5 November at 11pm through Monday 30 November at 5am.
New measures in all districts in the Republic of Cyprus include a night curfew starting Thursday at 11pm through Monday 30 November at 5am
Critics took to social media Wednesday night saying measures in all districts were unnecessary given that most problem areas were in Limassol and Paphos, where measures had already been announced previously.
But on Thursday morning, Health expert Zoi-Dorothea Pana said the measures were necessary in order to constantly monitor the situation until the end of the month, including trends, infection rate, and hospital capacity and capabilities.
Pana admitted that there was some delay in recording the infection rate, which reportedly had gone above 2 during a spike of the coronavirus.
The novel coronavirus, known officially as Sars-CoV-2, has a reproduction number of about three if no action is taken to stop the spread.
“We want the R index to fall under 1,” Pana said, reminding the public that outings such as spending time at shopping malls were activities that ought to be avoided during this period.
“We have a marathon to run,” Pana added, saying the goal was to compartmentalize the activities of different groups, so that the risk of spreading between subgroup categories could be lessened, including keeping an eye on schools.
Last week, a debate took place whether high school students should go to Kakopetria for their annual getaway in the rural mountain community, with locals and members of the public condemning the decision due to fears of spreading the bug further.
While organised student groups said they were pulling out of any plans regarding the trip, scheduled for this weekend, they said they had no way to convince students not to go.
Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou said on Thursday morning that Kakopetria officials said they supported a cancelation of the trip.
But other reports said some local hotel owners in the area were waiting to hear about the new measures before deciding on whether they should pull the plug.