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28 October, 2020
 
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Some restrictions may be eased earlier than planned

The health advisory committee said it was on board with an accelerated implementation of the exit roadmap, but final decisions will be taken by the Cabinet on Wednesday

Newsroom

The government and its health advisory committee discussed on Tuesday the possibility of relaxing certain restrictions sooner than anticipated, but final decisions are expected to emerge after the Cabinet’s meeting on Wednesday.

Speaking after the meeting chaired by President Nicos Anastasiades, member of the health advisory committee Maria Koliou said part of Tuesday’s discussion revolved around potentially relaxing sooner certain restrictions that were, according to the government’s initial plan, set to be relaxed in the fourth and final phase of the island’s lockdown exit roadmap, scheduled for mid-July.

The fourth phase was set to see casinos, indoor theatres and cinemas reopen doors, and the resumption of festivals and concerts. The restoration of accessibility to indoor children’s playareas was also placed in phase four.

But Koliou said that she suggested that patience is needed for certain aspects of phase four, such as the resumption of concerts, as she said it will be difficult to monitor safe distances among attendees.

Experts confirmed Cyprus’ positive epidemiological standing, which Koliou said “allows some dates to move earlier or to open various services sooner.”

On his part, health advisory committee member Petros Karayiannis said while the timeline and components of the third stage of the exit roadmap that will be launched on June 9 is clear, the fourth stage remains “somewhat ambivalent,” as some measures may be relaxed earlier than planned.

Asked if the advisory team expressed disagreement with the Minister of Health in relation to certain measures being introduced earlier, Karayiannis said that this was not true. He explained that experts are on the same page with the Minister of Health and explained that the Minister asked for some differentiations, which the team accepted.

Karayiannis said moreover that the epidemiological situation in Cyprus is very good, compared to other countries, and projected that Cyprus will soon reach zero cases, safely opening the way for the third stage.

Asked about the possibility of another wave of the pandemic, the professor said that the issue was discussed, particularly as cases appear to be on the rise in several Arab countries in the region.

Karayiannis expressed particular concern about students from these countries who study in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus, ahead of a decision to reopen crossing points, but said decisions on this matter depend on the island’s two leaders.

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