The last week of November will be decisive, as its coronavirus figures will determine the next steps to be taken, both in terms of suggestions to be submitted by the government’s expert task force and government decisions.
On the 30th of this month, the restrictive measures imposed across the Republic of Cyprus expire, and focus is particularly shifted toward Limassol and Paphos that saw tougher measures in the form of local lockdowns.
With the measures bearing fruit in the two districts, Nicosia, Larnaca and Famagusta have begun to show signs of deteriorating epidemiological indicators.
While experts are busy mulling over suggestions for measures that are to be enforced in December and during the Christmas holidays, concerns are being raised over holiday gatherings spurring a third wave of the pandemic.
Limassol and Paphos showing improvement
Paphos seems to have made great strides in managing the pandemic, following the measures that have been imposed. This is also visible in the graph presented in the most recent national surveillance report, depicting the cumulative impact of a two-week period per district. Paphos’ curve (blue), and the Limassol curve (green) are both on a downward trend, though Paphos is visibly faring better.
Though Nicosia, Larnaca and Famagusta are showing deteriorating epidemiological situations, they are still considered manageable. While the situations there are still mild, expert forecasts place Larnaca as the next district of concern.
Limassol to be treated with care
Entering the final stretch before the expiration of current restrictive measures, current data shows that focus will remain on Limassol.
It is expected that the government will move to extend the measures in force in Limassol for another week, though this development will be made clearer in the coming days. If by the end of the week there is a significant drop in the numbers in Limassol, measures could be relaxed. Kathimerini Cyprus reported that this may include an extension of the curfew from 8pm to 11pm, while restaurants may also be allowed to resume operation.
Concern for a third wave
With the festive month of December just around the corner, many consider decisions on restrictions to be a double-edged sword, given the financial impacts of restrictions on the one hand, and the public health concerns of a relaxation on the other.
As such, the government is faced with finding some form of a middle ground that will allow the public to move around enough to support the local economy, but will also safeguard the public from the transmission of the virus.
However, if a large portion of restrictions are lifted to allow for a more carefree holiday period, it is expected that Cyprus will swiftly move into a new wave of the pandemic. Toward this end, coronavirus experts are focusing of finding the right measures that would bring about a drop in daily cases, at least to double digits, so that the island doesn’t find itself in an extremely difficult position later on.