Health Minister Constantinos Ioanno said the easing of the six-week lockdown should be done “slowly, cautiously and in a controlled manner.” He warned that the situation could easily get out of control again because the infection rate in the country was still just above the safety limits set by the European Union’s Disease Prevention Agency.
According to Wano, the number of infections is now 164.3 per 100,000 people.
Yuanwu said middle school students are scheduled to return to classes on March 8, referring to all schools reopening after weeks of online teaching. Elementary schools actually hold personal lessons. But the minister clarified that twice-daily trips that require SMS approval and a curfew from 9 pm to 5 am will remain in effect.
“We will dispense with certain things for the next two or three months, and some measures will continue until there is (sufficient) vaccination coverage, which is expected to happen by June,” Yuanwu said.
The ban on public gatherings also continues to be enforced despite the increasing public stress that culminated with thousands demonstrating last weekend in the capital to protest the restrictions, and alleged police use of rutations and corruption.
The police did not intervene in this protest, but did use water cannons, pepper spray and sound bombs to disperse a much smaller group of left-wing protesters a week earlier. A young woman needed surgery for an eye injury after an explosion from a water hose.
The force’s actions sparked public outrage and prompted an investigation to determine whether the riot police used disproportionate force.
Yesterday, Amnesty International urged the Cypriot authorities to lift what it described as a “comprehensive, unlawful and disproportionate ban” on demonstrations.