Cyprus introduced a new lockdown to combat new Covid variant.
Individuals will only be permitted to go out twice each day for specific reasons such as buying groceries or medicines and taking exercise.
The current curfew banning movement from 9pm-5am daily remains in force.
Furthermore, hairdressers, beauty parlours, department stores, theaters, cinemas, shopping malls, gyms, nightclubs, restaurants and playgrounds will also be closed until January 31.
The announcement was made by Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou.
Schools (except kindergartens, pre-schools or those serving students with special needs) will be closed and distance learning will be re-introduced.
Ioannou said intensive care units treating COVID-19 patients have reached their limits and tougher restrictions are needed to prevent “people dying helpless because we don’t have available beds.”
Churches will be allowed to hold services without worshippers, and only first division soccer teams will be allowed to continue playing.
Infections have multiplied much faster in Cyprus during the last couple of months compared to earlier in the year, due to the new coronavirus variant identified in the UK, Ioannou said.
The minister added that if vaccine shipments remain unchanged, 60,000-70,000 will be vaccinated by the end of May.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 27,011 confirmed infections, with 147 deaths.
Anastasiadis also thanked doctors, nurses, and all those who stood on the front lines against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“2021 should be the restart of a new life or a new path to real life, as we had lived for so many years,” the Cypriot President underlined.