The expert group of scientists consulting the government in its efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus will be convening on Friday to map out Cyprus’ gradual lockdown exit strategy.
In recent days, the Government has been conveying a sense of restrained optimism, with the first speculations regarding when we can expect a controlled loosening of restriction measures pointing towards early May at the earliest.
As the government’s move to order a targeted testing of over 20,000 employees of businesses that continue to operate in full swing, a certain increase of the number of cases confirmed daily is expected in the coming days.
Speaking to Kathimerini Cyprus, expert virologist Petros Karayiannis said that he does not personally expect a relaxation of restriction measures to begin before mid-May, speculating that it may even drag on until the end of May, as the process must be done extremely carefully if we wish to see a resumption of daily life.
Schools, football matches, church services, and airports will be the last to return to normal
He added that he does not expect a significant rise in cases as a result of the rounds of targeted testing, as samples will be taken from those who continue to work.
Stressing that it is still too early to take the loosening of restriction measures for granted, Karayiannis, who is also a member of the group of scientists consulting the government, said the group will be delving into the government’s possible exit strategy on Friday, which marks the Greek Orthodox Easter Good Friday.
Karayiannis speculated that as a first move, the Cyprus government may steadily allow an increase of the number of times the public is allowed to travel for permitted reasons from one to three times per day.
He speculated that the Government will possibly then move to allow certain small businesses to resume operations, followed by construction sites.
Karayiannis underlined that that re-opening of schools and the resumption of football leagues, as well as the return of fans to stadiums, will be last on the list of the Government’s exit strategy.
The resumption of church services open to the public will also be among the last steps to be taken in the easing of current restriction measures, Karayiannis said.
He added that the timeframe for lifting the lockdown on airports will depend on the international coronavirus situation.
Karayiannis reiterated that a necessary prerequisite for even beginning to discuss a loosening of restriction measures is to see several days of zero new coronavirus cases.