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Update – 03/04/2020

  • A new death and 40 new cases were confirmed on Friday, the health ministry announced. This brings the total to 396 including 10 detected on the British Bases. The latest fatality concerns a man aged 64. He had an underlying health condition. Twenty-nine of the new cases were people who came into contact with confirmed cases, two had come back from abroad and the backgrounds of the remaining nine cases are being investigated. According to Dr Marios Loizou, clinical director of Okypy, the total deaths in virus-positive patients is 13, of which nine are attributable to Covid-19 and four to other causes even though they had coronavirus. The average age of patients who died from Covid-19 was 66, he said, 86 per cent men and 14 per cent women.
  • Seven more coronavirus cases have been detected in the north on Friday with the total number reaching 88. Two people have died in the north so far.
  • The EU has stepped up to assist the Turkish Cypriot community in its battle against coronavirus, procuring €2.5m worth of medical equipment and mobilizing 25 medical specialists who will be sent to the north for three months. The EU support comes in the framework of the Union’s aid programme for the Turkish Cypriot community, which has been ongoing since 2016 and aims at facilitating the reunification of Cyprus by encouraging the economic development of the north.
  • Minister of Labour Zeta Emilianidou said on Friday via Twitter that so far 132,341 bank details have been submitted via the special platform set up by the ministry for its Covid-19 support packs for workers and businesses. She said that so far the Labour Ministry has received:
    • 132,341 submissions of bank details
    • 9,688 applications for a Special Sick Leave
    • 10,954 applications for the special child care allowance
    • 15,063 applications for the self-employed special allowance, and
    • 10,574 applications for part or full suspension of business operations and special unemployment allowance
  • The House plenum on Friday approved three government bills doubling to €300 spot fines for those found to violate the movement restrictions and allowing some categories of convicts to serve the remainder of their prison sentence under house detention. With 18 votes in favour and one against, the House plenum, in an extraordinary session, approved doubling spot fines on violations of the restrictions on movement, from €150 currently to €300. They also passed one bill amending the Prisons Law allowing more categories of convicts to serve out the remainder of their sentence under house detention while wearing an ankle bracelet. The third bill concerned amending regulations on prisons to expand the convicts’ eligibility for the open prison so that more of them could benefit.
  • The government should not use all its available reserves because no one knows how long the coronavirus crisis will last, the chairman of the fiscal council said on Friday. “No one can know how long this crisis will last so we must save ammunition,” he said. “we must keep in mind where we will be the day after the crisis; where will the public and private debt be.” Demetris Georgiades said both must be manageable after the crisis.
  • Thirty Cypriots who were stranded in Thailand amid the Covid-19 pandemic have been repatriated, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said on Friday.
  • Police booked 299 drivers and pedestrians overnight for breaking the stay at home decree introduced as part of measures to contain the spread of coronavirus. A police spokesman told the Cyprus News Agency that 8431 checks were carried out between 6 pm on Thursday and 6 am on Friday.
  • A Greek pharmaceuticals company said Thursday it will be donating to Cyprus some 60,000 doses of the chloroquine-based drug Unikinon. In a statement, Uni-Pharma SA said it would also distribute 24 million doses of the drug to all coronavirus reference hospitals in Greece. The drug was approved for distribution by Greece’s National Organization for Medicines.
  • The United States values its bilateral partnership with the Republic of Cyprus and looks forward to having further conversations with the government in Nicosia, as the two sides work to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, says Judith Garber, the US Ambassador to Cyprus. “We are always looking for ways in which to strengthen” our cooperation she notes. Speaking to CNA, Ambassador Garber says that only if we work together, we will be able to come out of this crisis stronger. She also expresses hope for more bicommunal collaboration between health care workers in Cyprus, in view of the pandemic. The US government is leading the world’s humanitarian and health assistance response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ambassador says and points to the announcement by the Secretary of State, on March 26, to proceed with an investment of nearly $274 million to this end. The United States has not yet provided direct aid to the Republic of Cyprus, as Washington mobilizes resources for more vulnerable countries, based on a series of factors, Garber goes on. “The Republic of Cyprus, with its strong response to the COVID-19 outbreak and its excellent health care sector, is less vulnerable than other countries,” she explains.

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