Cyprus on Wednesday said it would end all restrictions on gatherings and the mandatory use of face masks in most areas after cases of COVID-19 were declining.

Effective Wednesday, all restrictions on public or private gatherings would be eased, while wearing face masks would only be compulsory in areas such as hospitals, care homes and on public transport, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela said.

"After three years of the pandemic, I am happy to say we are significantly easing existing restrictions as epidemiological factors have markedly improved," he said in a statement.

Authorities still recommended face masks in areas of mass gatherings and for people to do self-tests once a week, he said.

Based on the most recent available weekly data, Cyprus had reported 2,154 new cases of COVID-19 and a positivity rate of 3.54% in the week ending Aug. 25, compared to 2,130 in the week ending Aug. 18, with a positivity rate of 4.48%.

(Writing by Michele Kambas Editing by Alexandra Hudson)