A crucial meeting at the Presidential Palace on Monday is expected to discuss whether tighter measures are needed in the fight of the coronavirus pandemic, following reports over the weekend that people out in public were defying public health advice.
Reports over the weekend and statements on talk radio shows Monday morning revealed that groups of people have been visiting parks and public places without taking protective measures, contrary to advice given by officials “to stay home.”
Paphos Mayor Phedonas Phedonos, who spoke on state radio on Monday morning, said additional decisions were needed “today” in order to increase protective measures in supermarkets, factories, and bakeries.
Phedonos said an executive order banning gatherings of 75 or more people was not sufficient, saying “it shouldn't be 75 but we should be talking about 5 or fewer in some cases,” the mayor said.
Reports said police cars through loud speakers issued warnings to people who were at an open market in Nicosia, while in Limassol groups of people were advised to leave a public area
Police said they have been patrolling public areas in all districts but could not ask people to leave if the threshold of 75 people was not violated in indoor spaces.
Reports said police cars through loud speakers issued warnings to people who were at an open market in Nicosia, while in Limassol groups of people were advised to leave a public area.
Photos later emerged online showing filled parking lots and vehicles parked on streets outside Nicosia's Athalassa public park.
But law enforcement officers, who also visited churches and were concerned over indoor gatherings without proper ventilation, said they could not step in if there was no violation.
“We are ready to enforce new rules, including curfew, if the government revises its decision,” a police spokesperson said on state radio.
The officer added that the majority of people have been complying with public health advice.
CMA calls for urgent action
Members of the Cyprus Medical Association have spoken in favour of tighter measures, calling on the government to take “urgent action.”
In the north, partial movement restrictions went into effect on Monday morning, just after midnight, where people can leave their home only for specific errands, such as buying groceries or going to the pharmacy.
The tough measures came about after people were found to violate self-quarantine measures, with Turkish Cypriot authorities saying violators would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
There have been 38 confirmed cases in the north, according to Turkish Cypriot media, while 95 known cases have been reported in the south.
The location of one of the last eleven cases, which were announced in the Republic of Cyprus on Sunday, was not immediately known.
Reports said a meeting at the Presidential Palace was set to begin at 9:15am.