NICOSIA (Reuters) - Cyprus imposed a curfew on Monday to contain the spread of coronavirus, extending a broad lockdown introduced two weeks ago after a weekend surge in recorded cases.
From March 31, people with only some exceptions are banned from leaving their homes after 2100 local (1800 GMT) until 0600 the following morning, the health ministry said.
The measures, the most stringent imposed in peacetime, add to restrictions on leaving homes only with a permit. The new curbs would also mean people leaving home on a stated errand could do so only once a day, while fines for those violating the order would double to 300 euros, authorities said.
Cyprus took measures early to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Ahead of most European nations it partially sealed its borders on March 14, then extended the shutdown to all air links effective March 21.
But a sharp weekend increase in cases worried authorities, as did long queues forming outside ATMs in some areas on Monday morning by people seeking cash.
Thirty five new cases recorded on Sunday night -- more than double the number reported on Saturday -- brought Cyprus’ total to 214 cases. An additional 16 were recorded on Monday, bringing the total to 230. There have been seven recorded deaths since the outbreak first surfaced on the island on March 9, the health ministry said.
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Reporting By Michele Kambas, Editing by William Maclean
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