In Cyprus, masks must be worn in all indoor crowded areas from midnight Friday, Minister of Health Constantinos Ioannou announced.
Those who don’t follow the new rule, will be fined €300.
The announcement followed a meeting at the Presidential Palace between President Nicos Anastasiades and his advisory team.
At the time of writing, Cyprus has reported 1,114 coronavirus cases and 19 fatalities.
Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said that a rollback of Covid-19 restrictions combined with a low infection rate led to “excessive complacency” by some people, whom he blamed for “choosing to recklessly violate health protocols” and “put public health at risk.”
Ioannou also announced restrictions on gatherings in the Limassol district, the centre of the recent spike in cases. The measures which will last for three weeks, includes the return of a 10-person limit at all social functions and a 75-person limit for indoor seating at bars and restaurants. That limit is double for outdoor seating.
Police will enact a “zero tolerance” policy on businesses that don’t conform to hygiene and social distancing rules.
Ioannou said the latest spike is “exceedingly worrying” because people infected with the virus who don’t show any symptoms are spreading the disease in a way that is making containment efforts difficult.
Random testing at airports will also increase from 600 to 1,000 a day, with emphasis on Cypriots returning from vacation.
The minister said it’s a “utopia” to believe Covid-19 can be completely eradicated and that the best outcome is to keep infections at a low, controllable level until a vaccine is developed