Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Cyprus to lift COVID-19-related daily curfew and ease most restrictions from May 21. Commercial flight ban in place until May 28.

This alert affects Cyprus

This alert began 20 May 2020 22:18 GMT and is scheduled to expire 08 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Easing of COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: From May 21
  • Impact: Easing of COVID-19 restrictions; severe travel and business disruptions remain

Authorities in Cyprus will lift the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related daily curfew 2200-0600 from May 21. Authorities will also allow outdoor areas of service industry establishments as well hairdressers, barbers, beauty and massage parlors to reopen. In addition, movement in parks, squares, and marinas will be permitted for groups of up to 10 people; indoor gatherings of up to 10 people are also permitted.

From May 23, religious services, weddings, funerals, and christenings will be allowed to resume provided that the hygiene protocols are upheld. In addition, beaches will be allowed to reopen. On June 1, all libraries, museums, archaeological and historical sites, ports will be allowed to reopen; cruise ships will remain suspended.

Authorities in Cyprus previously extended the island's existing ban on all commercial international passenger flights until May 28. The measure was originally set to expire on May 15. Cargo, humanitarian, and repatriation fights are exempt from the ban. Additional extensions remain possible, as Cypriot authorities had indicated that airports could resume operations around June 9, depending on COVID-19 infection rates in the country and internationally.

On May 4, the government in Cyprus began gradually easing the restrictions introduced to combat the spread of COVID-19, allowing certain shops to reopen, provided they abide by specific safety and health protocols. Moreover, public services have fully resumed, though some disruptions are possible due to staff shortages.

Authorities in Cyprus will reopen schools, except for students from years 1 and 2 in high school, and technical schools from May 21. Authorities indicated that students will be put into two groups and attend classes on a rotational basis. Preschools and kindergartens remain closed.

Restrictions that remain in effect include:

  • Ban on most foreign nationals entering the country
  • Mandatory 14-day quarantine for all returning Cypriot nationals

Any restrictions may be extended or otherwise modified with little to no notice, depending on disease activity.

Background and Analysis
The measures undertaken by the Cypriot government are similar to actions taken by other European governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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