On Friday, November 27, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou announced that lockdown measures would be lifted in Limassol and Paphos and restrictions tightened on the rest of the island to create uniform measures nationwide between Monday, November 30, and December 13. Areas other than the two coastal cities have been under curfew between 23:00 and 05:00 (local time), but new measures will see a nationwide curfew between 21:00 and 05:00. Bars, restaurants, pubs, cafes, and other hospitality venues must shut at 19:00 instead of 22:30. Only food delivery is permitted after 19:00. Schools can reopen in Limassol and Paphos but gyms will be closed across the island. Shops, shopping malls, hair salons, cinemas, theatres, and museums are permitted to operate under tightened social distancing protocols. Face masks remain compulsory in both indoor and outdoor public places and household gatherings, weddings, and funerals are all limited to ten people. By bringing in these measures, authorities hope to ease restrictions uniformly over the Christmas holiday period. Providing infection rates decrease, later closing times for the hospitality sector and a loosening of the curfew may be brought in between December 14 and January 7.
In regards to international travel, authorities have divided countries into three categories. Travelers from countries in Category A are not required to present a negative COVID-19 test result upon arrival. Travelers who have visited a Category B country in the previous 14 days are required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before departure for Cyprus. Travelers who have visited a Category C country within the previous 14 days are prohibited from entering Cyprus. Details on the countries which are in categories A and B can be found here.
As of Saturday, November 28, Cyprus has recorded 9983 confirmed coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic, and 48 associated deaths. Further international spread of the disease is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.