NICOSIA, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades announced on Monday night a total ban on unnecessary movement in the country in a further move to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a televised address to the nation, Anastasiades said the ban comes into effect as from 6 p.m. on Tuesday until April 13, with violators of the decree being liable to an on-the-spot fine of 150 euros (161 U.S. dollars).
He added that the measure is being imposed as a result of the lack of discipline on the part of the public, who failed to heed calls by authorities to stay inside and avoid going out without a compelling reason.
The president said a decree will be issued by the Health Ministry stating that parks, children's playgrounds, sports fields, squares, excursion areas, the seaside in general, open markets, open workplaces, churches and mosques will be out of bounds and events related to the upcoming religious Easter Holidays will be totally banned.
Thousands flocked to the seaside, picnic areas and other recreation spots on Sunday, flouting decrees to avoid a high concentration of people, local media reported.
Anastasiades said the scientific teams advising the government have warned that without strict measures controlling movement, the situation in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic would get out of control, resulting in the collapse of the health system.
He added that as of Tuesday afternoon those going out must have a valid reason, such as going to work, to a supermarket or a pharmacy, or to tend to senior members of their families.
People moving out must have an identity card or passport and a signed statement as to the reason of their being out in the street.
Cyprus authorities announced on Monday 21 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the country's total to 116.