Cyprus to slightly relax Covid-19 restrictions during holidays

Cyprus on Tuesday announced slight relaxation of coronavirus restrictions for just two days during the Christmas and New Year period, while issuing an advisory against travelling to Britain.

Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said people can stay out and held family meetings of up to 10 people until 11 p.m. on December 24 — Christmas Eve — and on December 31 — New Year’s Eve — until 1 a.m. next day.

He also said that after a request by the leaders of the Church, people can attend church services on Christmas Day and on January 6, the Epiphany Day, provided that no more than 75 people are inside a church and there must be one person every three square meters of space, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Ioannou added that the current epidemiological data were not satisfactory and did not justify more relaxation of current restrictions.

Strict restrictions, which include a ban on movement after 9 p.m. and the closure of shopping malls, restaurants and beverage premises, have been in force since the beginning of December in a bid to stem a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to record deaths and new infections.

Meanwhile, the country’s foreign ministry issued an advisory to people to avoid travelling to Britain unless it’s absolutely necessary, after a new fast-spreading variant of SARS-CoV-2 was detected there.

The health ministry said people arriving from Britain will be taken to quarantine hotels for a seven-day period, with the cost covered by the state. People under the age of 18 have the option to either quarantine at home or at the designated hotels.

According to state-run Cyprus News Agency, about 300 people who arrived on three planes from British airports after 6 p.m. on Monday have been quarantined.