NICOSIA – There won’t be any more lockdowns for now on Cyprus despite the island country having the highest per capita rate of COVID-19 infections in the world but more restrictive measure are being considered.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades was to meet with scientific advisers to get their advice on what to do as repeated half measures haven’t worked to slow the pandemic now driven higher by the contagious Omicron Variant.
There could be limitations including a delayed start to reopening classes after the holidays and in churches as the country gets ready to mark Epiphany, a key date on the religious calendar, on Jan. 6, said Agence France-Presse (AFP.)
The news agency said that Cyprus has 2,505 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Denmark, Ireland, Greece and France, and a week earlier had posted five consecutive daily highs soaring past 5,000.
Further restrictions could be imposed on nightclubs and entertainment venues as well as home visits but Anastasiades has been reluctant to shut down non-essential businesses again after three lockdowns.
But while wanting tourists to boost a beleagued economy, Cyprus is requiring molecular tests for all visitors before and after arriving, at their own expense,but isn’t barring them from entering so far.
Companies are required to ensure 40 percent of their staff work remotely while venues can only have seated customers and no dancing to try to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
Access to nightclubs, venues and wedding receptions requires vaccinated patrons to present a negative COVID-19 test carried out within 24 hours, though those with a booster shot are exempt.
All hospital visits have been banned, and sports stadiums are restricted to 50 percent capacity, down from 75 percent but the government won’t close them to spectators in the sports-mad country.
Earlier, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas told reporters that Omicron was now the dominant strain in the community, accounting for 80 percent of some 177,7210 cases and 641 deaths among a population a little over a million.
Mask-wearing is mandatory for everyone aged six and over in public areas, both outdoor and indoor and ouble-vaccinated employees must undergo weekly tests, and unvaccinated individuals are banned from hospitality venues and nightclubs, also said AFP.