19 more people were tested positive to coronavirus the health ministry said on Monday, bringing the total number of cases to 465. So far, 704 Paphos residents have been tested for coronavirus as part of the targeted testing for the district but also Aradippou in Larnaca. Both areas have been identified as Covid-19 hotspots. Thankfully, no new deaths were recorded today.
The government’s various restrictive measures to contain the spread of coronavirus are to be extended until the end of April, CyBC reported on Monday citing informed sources. It said this was discussed at a meeting of the ministerial committee on the coronavirus outbreak that was chaired by President Nicos Anastasiades earlier today. The broadcaster said that the final decision will be taken by the Council of Ministers which is scheduled to meet on Wednesday. It added that the meeting had heard from scientists that it was too early to reach safe conclusions regarding contagion, and that another 15 days were needed. The report came as experts told local media they believed that it would be too risky to lift the measures.
Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said on Monday it was way too early to draw conclusions from the drop in Covid-19 cases observed in the past couple of days, as Cyprus entered the second week of strict restrictions on movement aimed at stopping the virus from spreading. “It is better than it was in previous days, but I think it’s very premature to interpret drop in cases as an indication of the virus ebbing,” Ioannou told Politis radio. Following the spike on April 1 with 58 new cases, there has been a gradual drop to 20 on Sunday, though authorities are still cautious pending the results of two targeted surveys in two so-called hotspots, Paphos and Aradippou. Ioannou said similar results must continue for several days for them to have a concrete indication on where the epidemic was heading, expressing the hope that this would be the week of stabilisation. “This is what we want, and hope would happen,” he said, adding that the two weeks ahead were critical. Authorities have been carrying out tests in Paphos and Aradippou, which had recorded a high number of cases in the past month. Thirty-nine cases were reported in Aradippou before the authorities decided to carry out some 500 targeted tests over the past three days. The tests identified four more cases “which is encouraging as regards the particular community,” Ioannou said. The results from Paphos, where authorities aimed for 1,000 tests, have not yet started coming out. Paphos was hit hard early on in the epidemic after Medical staff at the town’s hospital contracted the virus. Of its 61 cases, 34 concerned health-care workers mostly working at the town’s general hospital.
Greek Cypriot health officials say there is a “gradual reduction” in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases, adding that measures in place have been effective but this could still change at a moment’s notice. Leondios Kostrikis, a professor of biotechnology and virology at the University of Cyprus, told a press conference on Sunday that it would be “scientifically premature” to say the coronavirus was subsiding but said “we are optimistic about the effectiveness of the restrictive measures currently in place.
The American Medical Centre in Nicosia has stopped taking new patients after four health care professionals and two patients tested positive for coronavirus. Under a decree issued by the Health Ministry suspended the operation of the American Health Centre to prevent the virus from spreading after six tested positive for Covid-19. No new patients are being admitted, but those who are there will remain. The hospital is also being disinfected. Last night, the centre’s director Dr Marinos Soteriou had said that the hospital had admitted a patient referred from the A&E of Nicosia General Hospital who first tested negative, but then tested positive.
Police booked 126 pedestrians and drivers for not complying with a decree restricting movements between 6pm on Sunday and 6am on Monday. While 3,867 persons were checked during this time, 824 premises were also inspected, none of which violated the decree. Earlier on Sunday police booked 17 people who held a gathering in an apartment in Strovolos, Nicosia. They were each fined €300.
Police chief Kypros Michaelides said on Monday that police are out in force to ensure compliance with decrees aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus. In remarks to CNA, he said that Nicosia, Famagusta and Larnaca were showing signs of ‘lack of discipline’ while in Aradippou and Paphos there was concern among residents about the disproportionately high number of Covid-19 cases in their community. The police leadership at HQ and the districts today discussed implementation of the measures by teleconference, with Michaelides telling CNA that one of the issues raised was the fear people may become complacent because of the guarded note of optimism heard from scientists yesterday during the announcement of the number of new cases. Police are not letting up on their checks and will continue to strictly implement the decrees, he warned.
A general implementation on loan repayments will not be considered as restructuring and the banks are not to assess a possible loss in the net present value of loans falling under the moratorium, Central Bank of Cyprus said in a circular to Cyprus credit institutions. The new circular, issued following new guidelines by the European Banking Authority (EBA) concerning the classification of loans falling under the repayment moratoria, constitutes a green light for the banks not to compound interest during loan repayment suspension. The CBC said that the past days it had received clarifications directly both by the EBA and the Single Supervisory Mechanism on important issues concerning the prudential handling of general moratorium. Last week the Cyprus parliament approved a law on extraordinary measures in the financial sector while Finance Minister issued a decree calling on banks to implement a nine-month loan repayment moratorium as part of the measures to alleviate the impact due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Thierry Breton and Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioners for the Internal Market and the Economy call for the creation of a “fourth pillar” to provide European funding to thee Member States in order to support the real economy, in addition to the ESM, the EU Budget and the ECB`s liquidity tools. In their OP-ED published in Cyprus by CNA, the two Commissioners are sounding the alarm about the magnitude of the challenge to the economy from the Covid-19 pandemic and urge Member States not to miss this historic opportunity.