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Update – 02/06/2020

  • Three new coronavirus cases were announced by the health ministry on Tuesday, bringing the total recorded so far to 952. One case was found among 430 tests processed at schools. The ministry said it was a gymnasium student. The education ministry said the school is being disinfected and will operate as normal following the cleaning.
    • Citing reasons of public health, the Health Ministry has informed the public that two of yesterday’s five coronavirus cases were at Columbia Plaza in Limassol and at Nicosia Hospital.
  • The next steps in the lockdown exit strategy will be decided and announced by the Council of Ministers tomorrow, members of the team of scientists said on Tuesday after a meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades at the Presidential Palace today. Professor Petros Karayiannis and Dr Maria Koliou said the exact dates regarding the relaxation of the measures will be given by cabinet which meets tomorrow. Karayiannis said that the president had asked to be briefed about the epidemiological picture. Some dates were discussed and these will be ratified by cabinet, he said. Phase three is in June (according to the initial road map it starts on June 9), but Karayiannis said said that phase four is “a little up in the air” as some of the relaxations may be introduced earlier than initially planned. He denied there was a rift between the epidemiological team and the health minister “There was no letter. The minister asked for some amendments and we agreed,” he said. Koliou said the epidemiological situation allowed some of the restrictive measures to be relaxed earlier. Gyms will open under preconditions. “There will be weddings and concerts in 2020, but some time is needed,” she said. The meeting had also discussed the issue of the checkpoints, based on the exchange of views and data at the bicommunal technical committee of health yesterday.
  • The message that we are entering the phase of recovery was given on Tuesday by the Minister of Finance, Konstantinos Petridis. He said the first signs after the partial lifting of restrictions were very positive for the market, and expressed confidence that “we will emerge victorious from this uncertain battle.” Petridis spoke after the meeting of the President Nikos Anastasiadis, with representatives of the financial institutions, at the Presidential Palace, in which he participated. Afterwards, Ioannis Matsis, President of the Cyprus Banking Association and CEO of Hellenic Bank said: “Banks have both the will and the liquidity and the capital adequacy to support the economy.” There was a very constructive discussion, Petridis said, adding that we are moving to the second phase, the recovery phase “and the government and the banking sector will contribute with the means they have in this direction.” He added that economic conditions have improved since April. According to the finance minister, the government’s plans will be used by the banking sector as well. The rate of interest rate subsidy is a very important measure for both the business world and young couples who want to get loans, he added. “It is a very important help and what we said today is that, yes, going through this second phase with the changes and the psychology of the world markets. The banks are participating, and are explaining the rapid procedures; They will do what they have to do. He also said that the growth that we have had in recent years has given both the economy and the private sector strength to come through. “Of course, we will know more in the near future, but it seems that the government’s measures have acted as a catalyst,” he added.
  • Cypriots are among Europe’s privileged borrowers, Phileleftheros’ Insider reports, as they are entitled to nine months of suspension of loan payments (principal as well as interest) that was also enshrined into law, a benefit not enjoyed by many other member-states. According to data gathered by the portal, loan suspension in the Cypriot banking system covers all categories of borrowers and loans, while many European banking systems exclude principal payments from their support package and only assist with interest. Moreover, in some countries, there is no law holding banks accountable but it is instead left to banks’ goodwill to help. In the aftermath of the Coronavirus blow to the real economy, nearly all European banking systems have put relaxations in place for the repayment of loans.

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