Cyprus says beaches, parks off limits to fight virus

Nicosia (AFP) –


Cyprus declared on Monday that beaches and parks were out of bounds as part of increased restrictions on movements aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus on the Mediterranean island.

Open air markets will close and sports facilities, places of worship, dams and picnic areas will be off limits from Tuesday until April 13, Nicos Anastasiades, president of the Republic of Cyprus, said in a national address.

He said that if people ignored the rules then the country's health system was at risk of "collapse".

"We are at war... a war that is won by staying in our shelters," Anastasiades said.

"Please stay at home, stay in your shelter, we will make it."

People will only be allowed to leave home to shop for essentials, go to work, visit the chemist or a doctor, go to the bank, walk the dog or for exercise.

Everybody will be required to carry a passport or other form of identity.

Anastasiades said the tougher measures were needed because "some citizens have shown indiscipline, a lack of self-respect and responsibility."

People were seen over the weekend gathering in parks, beaches and children's play areas.

The island is divided between the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus, which has reported 116 coronavirus cases, and the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which has registered 39 infections.

Cyprus has reported one death from the disease -- a 70-year-old with underlying health conditions.