Cyprus extends coronavirus lockdown to end-April

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades on Wednesday extended a lockdown designed to combat the spread of coronavirus until the end of April, taking in Greek Easter.

"The cabinet has agreed to extend all measures and decrees until April 30," Anastasiades announced in a televised address.

Cyprus has closed schools, banned gatherings and imposed a nightime curfew, allowing residents to leave their homes only once a day.

The shutdown had originally been due to run until April 13.

"We must not succumb to the difficulties caused by the measures. The duration of the measures depends on how faithfully we follow them," Anastasiades said.

The Republic of Cyprus on Wednesday announced 32 new coronavirus cases, taking the confirmed total in the EU member state to 526, among whom nine have died.

Two other people, both German tourists, have died of COVID-19 in the breakaway Turkish Cypriot statelet in the north of the divided island.

"Without wanting to cultivate optimism, it seems that our measures allow us to see a ray of light," the president said.

"It is not our way of life which is at stake but our lives," he said.

The was referring to Greek Easter, the most important date in the Orthodox calendar that this year falls on April 19.

He said there will be 20,000 more coronavirus tests for people still working, including the army, and further repatriations of students and other Cypriot nationals stranded abroad.

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