Cyprus on Wednesday ordered the closure of malls and restaurants until the end of the year to try to subdue an aggressive jump in Covid-19 cases.
The measures come into effect from Dec. 11, the health ministry said. In addition church services would be closed to members of the public.
"There is no such thing as good or nice restrictions, these are necessary, and mainly unpleasant, but we have to safeguard life. Our health comes first," Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou told a news conference.
He said that authorities would take further action if the situation worsened. High schools would shut on Monday with students shifting to online classes. Primary schools and nurseries would remain open, Ioannou said.
Cyprus, with a population of about 900,000 in its government-controlled areas, has reported 13,286 Covid-19 cases since the first surfaced in early March. Sixty eight people have died. The number of new cases has hit daily highs for about the past seven weeks, and the rate of increase has accelerated in recent days.
The resurgence in daily cases prompted authorities to re-impose a night-time curfew in November, which will remain in force. [Reuters]