Nicosia [Cyprus], July 6 (ANI/Xinhua): The government of Cyprus has reintroduced the mandatory wearing of masks indoors, just over a month after scrapping the measure.

The move was announced by Minister of Health Michalis Hadjipantela on Wednesday, and comes after a spike in new COVID-19 infections.

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The new rules will come into force on Friday, making masks mandatory in all closed spaces for people over the age of 12 years. Those who do not comply can be fined 300 euros.

"If we wish to protect ourselves and our loved ones, we have no choice but to wear our masks," Hadjipantela said.

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Between June 25 and July 5, a total of 19,503 cases of COVID-19 were recorded, with the positivity rate climbing 13 percent, the Ministry said. The rise in cases is due to the Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5.

Cyprus, which has a population of less than one million, scrapped all coronavirus restrictions on June 1 after daily infections fell to below 250.

However, infections began to increase two weeks ago. Scientists said this was due to large gatherings, such as wedding receptions, concerts and other social events.

Health authorities have said that the situation is under control, although the number of people requiring hospitalization has almost tripled to around 100 in the last two weeks. Further measures will be taken if necessary. (ANI/Xinhua)

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