Police say officers will man random checkpoints in Limassol and Paphos districts, both which have been ordered essentially isolated from the rest of the island, following new strict measures to combat a second wave of the coronavirus.
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According to police spokesperson Christos Andreou, who was a guest on state radio Thursday morning, highway patrol officers will be inspecting traffic to and from Limassol and Paphos districts, after new government measures were set to go into effect in the evening at 8pm.
The roadblocks will control or block traffic along highways and secondary roads in order to stop citizens from going in or coming out of the two districts without a legitimate purpose
It was understood that the roadblocks, which may be set up as temporary installations or mobile units, will control or block traffic along highways and secondary or rural roads in order to stop citizens from going in or coming out of the two districts without a legitimate purpose.
The National Guard will also take part in assisting police monitoring traffic, according to officials, while Justice Minister Emily Yiolitis issued a statement reassuring the public that "the presence of soldiers was not meant to frighten people."
On Wednesday night, following a national address by President Nicos Anastasiades, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou announced that Limassol and Paphos residents would be prohibited from traveling outside or between their two districts, with the exception of workers in essential services or for medical reasons as well as passengers being transferred between terminals to Larnaca and Paphos airports or Limassol’s port.
The lockdown was the first time local districts were cut off from the rest of the island in the fight against COVID-19, with Anastasiades saying Limassol and Paphos were “the main sources of infection and spread of the virus” with a combined 70% of total cases coming out of these districts.
Limassol and Paphos will also have longer curfews from the rest of the island, with residents in the two districts being told to stay in from 8pm until 5am the following morning, with the measures going into effect Thursday evening, 12 November. Food delivery services can still take place after the cutoff time.
Strict measures have also been imposed on other districts, including migrant camps ordered to continue full lockdowns except for the admission of asylum seekers.
The new measures are set to last through November 30, with officials saying they hoped hunkering down now would help flatten the curve or bring about some positive results ahead of the Christmas holidays.
Random checkpoints are typically established along a clear stretch of highway where they cannot be observed in advance by approaching traffic until it is too late to take an exit or turn around.
Story has been updated with information about the National Guard