NICOSIA, Cyprus -- Cyprus is bringing back compulsory mask-wearing in indoor areas for everyone age 12 and over amid a surge of COVID-19 infections.
The government said Wednesday the infection spike is in line with a global trend that's mainly owed to the BA.4 and BA.5 variants of the coronavirus.
According to Health Ministry figures, 19,503 people tested positive from a total of 147,623 samples between June 25 to July 5 out of a population of approximately 916,000. The numbers don't include the approximately 250,000 people in the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north of the ethically divided island nation.
The measures take effect on Friday. The government said mask wearing isn't compulsory at home, for family members inside a vehicle, during meals, athletes, cooks during grilling and for people with ailments and deformities that make it difficult for them to wear a face mask.
The government warned that compliance checks will be in effect and any individual or business violating the order could face a fine of 300 euros ($305).
Health officials have said the high infection rate hasn't so far resulted in an parallel surge of serious symptoms requiring intensive hospital treatment.
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