The test was described as a “precautionary” by the government spokesman, Kyriakos Kousios, who said cabinet ministers would be doing the same in the coming days.
To date, 116 people have contracted coronavirus in the ethnically divided island’s Greek-run south, including three cases recorded in Cyprus’ sovereign British base areas. By Monday evening 40 cases had also been confirmed in its Turkish-held north. There has been one death – reportedly a Briton, with underlying health problems resident on the Mediterranean island.
In a TV address last night, Anastasiades announced that as of 6 PM today a lockdown restricting any “unnecessary movement” will come into force applicable through to April 13.
“We are truly at war … it’s a war that can only be won if we remain in our shelters,” he said warning that the health system would collapse in the event of transmissions spreading uncontrollably. “I cannot conceive that we can be led to the scenes we have seen in Italy and Spain where doctors in duress are forced to choose who lives and who will be left to die.”
In echoes of a similar ban in Greece, exceptions will be made for visits to supermarkets, doctors, pharmacies, banks, caring for the needy, outdoor exercise and walking dogs.
Travel to workplaces, if absolutely essential, is also allowed. But at all times citizens will be expected to have their ID or passport and a certificate from their employer. Authorities, Anastasiades said, will be “merciless” with those who violate the new measures with fines of 150 euro being handed out on the spot.
The country had already effectively sealed its borders instituting a widespread ban on civilian air traffic on March 21st that has allowed only Cypriot citizens and resident foreigners in.