NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus will begin easing its tight coronavirus lockdown by allowing some businesses to reopen beginning on May 4, with restrictions on movement to be lifted on May 21, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Wednesday.
Construction and related companies would be allowed to reopen, as would retail businesses apart from malls and large stores, he said in a televised address. A curfew restricting movement at night would remain in force.
Full easing of movement would occur on May 21, more than two months after the island state imposed tough regulations that allow people out only with a permit.
In his address, the president repeatedly emphasised caution, saying the easing of restrictions would depend on people continuing to follow the rules.
“I want to be absolutely clear: the validity of these measures is absolutely aligned with the continuation of the respect and solidarity which an overwhelming majority has shown,” Anastasiades said.
Cyprus moved swiftly to contain the coronavirus outbreak, shutting schools a day after its first case on March 9, followed rapidly by closure of its airports to commercial traffic.
The island has reported 843 cases of COVID-19 and 15 deaths.
(Reporting By Michele Kambas)