On Friday, Konstantinos Ioannou, the Cypriot Minister of Health, announced a strict two-week lockdown over Easter. With exceptions made for the religious holiday of Easter Sunday itself, a 9:00 PM to 5:00 AM curfew has been announced. The lockdown is expected to end on May 10th.
Terms of Cyprus’ strict lockdown
Cyprus’ new lockdown begins at 5:00 AM on Monday the 26th of April and is expected to end at midnight on Sunday, the 9th of May. Other than a few exceptions, there will be a strict curfew observed from 9:00 PM to 5:00 AM every day.
These exceptions include transportation for those who work during those hours, as well as emergency transportation to get health services. This includes going to medical centers, hospitals, pharmacies and veterinarians.
An exception to the general curfew will be granted on the night of Easter Saturday, in order to allow for observation of the Greek Orthodox Resurrection service. More specifically, the curfew will only be in effect beginning at 1:00 AM on Easter Sunday.
Other than the cases outlined above, citizens will be able to use one SMS each a day to leave the house during acceptable hours. Bars, cafes and restaurants are to operate only through delivery or take-away services. After 9:00 PM, only delivery is allowed.
All retail stores selling non-essential items and hair salons will be required to close.
Easter in lockdown
Easter in Cyprus will look a little different than prior years due to coronavirus regulations. Other than the exception to lockdown outlined above, Cyprus is enforcing strict rules for Easter celebrations.
Gatherings for Easter are exclusively allowed on Easter Sunday (May 2nd). Celebrations will be allowed indoors; however everyone present at a single celebration will need to come from only two families at the most. Furthermore, only ten people total will be allowed to attend any single gathering.
Coronavirus cases in Cyprus doubled
Over the past two weeks, the number of positive coronavirus test results in Nicosia and Larnaca have almost doubled. The figures from the Ministry of Health, below, are startling.
In Nicosia, the positivity rate from coronavirus tests undertaken increased from 0.6% on 11/4 to 1.3% this week.
In Larnaca, the positivity rate from coronavirus tests undertaken increased from 0.8% on 11/4 to 1.5% this week.
These statistics are likely a contributing factor to the Ministry of Health’s decision to put Cyprus into lockdown over Easter.
Previous lockdown in Cyprus
The last strict lockdown in Cyprus begun on January 10th and lasted until the end of the month.
Many of the same regulations applied, including a curfew from 9:00 PM to 5:00 AM and the need to send an SMS prior to leaving the house. However, during the January lockdown Cypriots were allowed two SMS messages each per day in comparison to the singular SMS allowed starting Monday.
The current lockdown is expected to end on May 10th, but Cyprus’ reopening is dependent on epidemiological data.