Cyprus tightens anti-coronavirus restrictions

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NICOSIA, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- Cypriot health authorities announced on Tuesday that they are further tightening anti-coronavirus restrictions after announcing a record number of 751 new COVID-19 infections overnight.

A Health Ministry statement said that as of 6 p.m. on Tuesday and until Jan. 10, the presence of other people in houses other than those permanently residing in them is forbidden, with the exception of New Year's Eve when up to 10 people can meet in a house.

This means that even members of the same family cannot visit their relatives if they already have different residences.

The ministry also said that public services will be manned by skeleton staff to deal with urgent cases, with the majority of civil servants working from home. It also urged private businesses to provide facilities for their staff to work from home.

Members of the scientific team advising the ministry said that the increase of new cases suggested that there has been a lax in observing security measures during the Christmas holiday.

They also said that the possibility of reckless behavior during festive days until the end of the New Year festive period on Jan. 7 made new restrictions unavoidable.

Restrictions already in force include the closure of shopping malls, restaurants and cafes, as well as a ban on movement from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. with the exception of New Year's Eve, when people can stay out until 1 a.m.

Data released by the Health Ministry suggest that possibly more than one out of 20 people in the island state -- with a population of roughly one million -- are infected with COVID-19.

Public health services said that they are running out of medical staff to man more beds in public hospitals and are on the verge of mobilizing private doctors. Enditem

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