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15 July, 2020
 
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First easing of restriction measures probably on May 4, Health Minister says

Final decisions on the island's exit strategy will be taken by the Cabinet on Wednesday

Newsroom

If the situation continues down its current course, we can expect the first loosening of restriction measures to take place on May 4, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said Friday.

Experts have handed over the island’s epidemiological data to the government, which will move to evaluate when the gradual lifting of measures will begin and with which sectors.

Ioannou said that barring any unexpected turns, May 4 could mark the day the government begins loosening restriction measures, but final decisions will be taken by the Cabinet on Wednesday.

The Health Minister asked for patience, as details of the lockdown exit strategy will be growing increasingly concrete as epidemiological data is issued on a daily basis.

Ioannou added that by Monday or Tuesday, we can expect final decisions to be made on the resumption of state hospitals, noting that the Nicosia and Limassol General Hospitals will gradually open up as ‘mixed hospitals’, treating both coronavirus and non-coronavirus cases.

Exit strategy in four phases

Restriciton measures will be lifted completely in four phases, expected to be completed within two to three months, while measures are set to be gradually eased every two weeks so that any repercussions can be evaluated at each step of the way.

According to information currently available, the first phase of the lifting of measures is expected to see an increase in the number of times the public is allowed to move for legitimate reasons. Small open-air construction sites are also expected to be allowed to resume operations, as well as retail outlets and other small and medium-sized enterprises, such as clothing and footwear stores.

Two weeks later, in mid-May, and if epidemiological data allows, hairdressers, barbershops, beauty salons and gyms are expected to open.

The third phase envisages the reopening of sports organizations behind closed doors without the presence of fans.

In the fourth phase, shopping centers, hotels, restaurants, cafes are expected to open. It is expected that a framework will be set up, determining how many people will be allowed to gather in these spaces at the same time.

The timeframe of the reopening of schools and churches are still under deliberation, while the lockdown on airports is expected to be lifted last.

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