Two people have tested positive for Coronavirus, both imported cases, after 1490 diagnostic tests the Health Ministry said on Monday, on Cyprus’ first day of easing of the lockdown measures. Dr Leontios Kostrikis said that this is the lowest number of cases in a single day since the first two cases were confirmed two months ago. This brings the total number to 874 (including 10 in the British Bases).
Based on the track record of people’s compliance with strict measures during the lockdown period, the government is optimistic that citizens will display the same level of maturity as measures are gradually relaxed, said the Director of the President’s Office, Petros Demetriou. Speaking to CNA, Demetriou also referred to a meeting, on Monday morning, between President Nicos Anastasiades, the Minister of Justice Giorgos Savvides and Police Chief Kypros Michaelides, ahead of inspections in retail businesses and other workplaces that reopened today. President Anastasiades is in regular contact with the Ministry of Justice and the Police leadership throughout the period the quarantine law and relevant decrees are in force, to monitor the measures in place, Demetriou said. These meetings are taking place frequently and continue today, as measures gradually relax, he added. During Monday’s meeting, President Anastasiades was informed about the operational plan and the way Police checks are being conducted, Demetriou went on. He said moreover that 160 public servants will be authorized to conduct inspections and the meeting also discussed coordination between various services. In a written statement, Deputy Government Spokesman Panayiotis Sentonas also referred to the meeting, saying that the President of the Republic was informed on Police plans for stricter controls, in order to ensure that the new measures decided by the Cabinet will be observed. During the meeting, participants also discussed coordination between various government services, in order to ensure compliance with protective and precautionary measures, Sentonas concluded.
Restrictive measures started gradually relaxing on Monday in Cyprus after a lockdown preventing the spread of coronavirus. “A little longer. With prudence, consistency and patience we will make it” President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades wrote on Sunday on Facebook. From Monday, May 4, the construction sector resumes operations, along with street markets and retail businesses, except malls, in line with guidelines and instructions issued by the authorities to observe protective measures. Businesses inside shopping malls will remain closed, as well as restaurants and playgrounds operating within shops. Employees from the public and wider public sector also return Monday to their workplaces. Restrictions in public and private hospitals also start being lifted partially and will continue to do so in line with the instructions of the Ministry of Health. Next Monday, May 11, a total of 7,118 pupils in the final year of Lyceum will also return to their classes. Citizens will be allowed to sent three sms per day to go out of their homes, compared to one that was the case until now. The curfew from 10pm to 6am remains in force. People are also allowed to go to churches, mosques and other places of worship to pray, but only 10 people are allowed simultaneously indoors. Measures are expected to relax in four stages, according to a government plan, with the first stage ending on May 20 and the final stage on July 14. Decisions to proceed to the next stage will be taken in line with epidemiological data. Cyprus’ Ministry of Health took the first set of measures on January 23, 2020, with strict controls on those arriving from China. On February 28, 2020, the Council of Ministers decided to activate the Cyprus Crisis Management Centre and to suspend the operation of four crossing points for more effective control of those passing though. The first entry ban to Republic of Cyprus ports and airports entered into force on March 15 and on March 24, a decree by the Minister of Health banned all unnecessary movement.
Police have been mobilized since early Monday when the first phase of easing the coronavirus restrictions came into effect. Police Spokesman Christos Andreou said that the Force will intensify spot checks and duties will be increased. We are here to ensure the strict adherence to the measures. Our aim is public health and safety. We are supported by the relevant services of the public sector including the Shipping Deputy Ministry, the National Guard, the Civil Defence, the Game Department and other services, he added. Referring to the return of thousands of people back to work and the increase of movements from one to three, Andreou said that the Police duties are increasing, noting the aim of the Force is not to report people but to help them get through the pandemic with as less cases as possible. “We will be out on the roads to help the people overcome this situation”, he clarified. Andreou said there are 110 patrol vehicles and 250 members of the Force ot on the roads. Patrols will increase during the day. Police will report people where necessary, the Police Spokesman added. He urged the people to comply with the decrees and members of the Force to faithfully adhere to hygiene rules and personal protection measures.
Police carried out 4201 checks overnight and booked 74 people for breaking the lockdown decree.
A total of 3,000 Cypriot citizens and people residing legally in the Republic of Cyprus are expected to be repatriated in May, with the Minister of Transport, Yiannis Karousos, saying that repatriations continue with an average rate of 200-300 people on a daily basis. Speaking to CNA, Karousos said that since the decree banning commercial flights to Cyprus, on March 21, a total of 5,056 people have been repatriated. Between April 13 and May 3, those returning amounted to 4,126 people. Repatriations will continue as long the flight ban is in place, the Minister went on. He referred to the case of around 80 Cypriot citizens in Russia awaiting repatriation, after they booked tickets for a flight that never took off. The flight was chartered by the Russian government to repatriate Russian citizens on May 3, but was eventually cancelled. Russian authorities said they will reschedule the flight. “If it is not rescheduled by tomorrow, we will proceed with our own flight, similar to what we do for the UK and Greece, in order to repatriate the people from Russia” Karousos noted. He said that until today, they arranged for flights from several airports in the UK and Greece, as well as from Frankfurt that functions as a hub to assemble passengers from several countries. At the same time, Cyprus authorities also make use of emergency flights scheduled by other countries to repatriate their own nationals, he added.