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Update – 07/04/2020

  • Cyprus is among 20 countries worldwide that will receive the drug Avigan to treat hospitalised Covid-19 patients, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday. It said that the Pharmaceuticals Council, after consultations with the Cyprus embassy in Japan and the Japanese authorities, had approved the pharmaceutical Avigan 200 mg that will be given to 20 patients with Covid-19 and who will be part of the clinical trial being carried out by the competent Japanese authorities. The inclusion of Cyprus in the 20 countries participating in the trials was announced by the Foreign Minister of Japan.
  • A total of 31 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 are hospitalised currently in Famagusta General Hospital, which operates as the reference hospital for the coronavirus. Three of those patients are receiving their treatment in the increased care unit, while during the course of today it is expected that more people will be released from the hospital, CNA sources have said. Yesterday evening, one patient, who is intubated, was transported to the Nicosia General Hospital intensive care unit. The number of medical professionals working in the coronavirus ward has increased to include as of yesterday three more pathologists, two pulmonologists, an anesthesiologist and a cardiologist from the private sector.
  • A total of 4,289 Cypriot citizens have expressed until early on Tuesday afternoon, through the online platform connect2cy, their interest to be repatriated, 3,600 of whom are university students. In particular, as CNA has been informed, 2,090 Cypriots expressed their interest to be repatriated between April 15-30, 1,102 between May 1-15, 456 between May 16-31, 337 between June 1-15, 169 between June 16-30 and 135 later. Up until now approximately 16,000 citizens have registered on the online platform connect2cy where Cypriots abroad can register. The platform was launched on March 31st.
  • The number of loan applications for suspension of payments for the next nine months at the island’s two largest banks has risen to 23,000, CNA reported on Tuesday. According to information from the Bank of Cyprus, by Monday afternoon, applications had exceeded 11,000 with the vast majority having been approved. According to information from Hellenic Bank, applications exceeded 12,000. Ninety-five percent were from eligible borrowers – those who were not behind on their payments – while 80 per cent of the applications came from individual borrowers and 20 per cent from businesses. From the individual borrowers, half related to mortgages.
  • Cyprus expects to lose significant wealth in 2020 since it is moving fast away from initial goals to raise GDP to €22.39 billion. And all this because of the coronavirus epidemic which has paralysed key sectors of the economy since mid-March. It is still unknown when basic sectors such as hotels, construction, trade and airlines will start operation again so that the economy is also activated. Data compiled by Phileleftheros had the Ministry of Finance estimating the Gross Domestic Product increasing by €895 million in 2020 compared to 2019 – that is, from €21.50 billion reaching €22.39 billion. These numbers are unapproachable now. In fact, the coronavirus national wealth damage is expected to be over one billion with detrimental consequences on fiscal results. That’s why “cushions” should be sought for the budget, since public finances are expected to close with a significant deficit. Cash buffers are running low due to the government’s social policy with employee support plans aiming to counter the pandemic’s effects. Minister of Finance Constantinos Petrides told Phileleftheros in an interview that the coronavirus crisis will lead to a deep recession in 2020, probably exceeding 10% of GDP.
  • Cyprus Finance Ministry Public Debt Management Office has said that the budget balance of the Government is projected to reach a deficit of about 4% of GDP in 2020, stemming from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on economic activity impacting both revenue andexpenditure, as well as from the temporary fiscal impact brought by the related measures. However, it added, it should be emphasized that the Republic of Cyprus is dealing with this crisis from a very strong position on its business cycle and from a comfortable fiscal position. The Office said in a Market Communication regarding Covid-19 impact and measures, that given the high degree of uncertainty surrounding quantification of the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and taking into account the rapid evolution of measures take Into respond to the situationglobally, it is currently very difficult for any country to provide accurate and detailed macro-economic and fiscal projections. In the context of the projections that willbe presented in the forthcoming Stability Programme 2020-2023, the Ministry of Finance is currently working on a scenario where the impact of the pandemi con the economy is expected to take place primarily during the secondquarterof the year,and then rebound in the second halfof the year.
  • Cyprus announced its intention to proceed with the issuance of 7-year and a 30-year euro-denominated bonds in a bid to strengthen its cash reserves amid the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. A press release issued to the markets states that “the REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS, rated BBB- (stable) by Standard and Poor’s, Ba2 (positive) by Moody’s, BBB- (stable) by Fitch and BBBL (positive) by DBRS, has mandated Barclays, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Société Générale to lead manage a EUR-denominated dual-tranche RegS, CACs benchmark.” “The deal comprises a EUR benchmark April 2027 fixed rate tranche and a EUR benchmark April 2050 fixed rate tranche,” the press release writes. The issue is expected to be launched in the near future subject to market conditions. FCA/ICMA stabilisation applies, it adds.
  • Police carried out more than 5,400 checks across Cyprus to observe the enforcement of lockdown measures to limit the spread of coronavirus disease, reporting 129 violations. A police spokesman told CNA that the force from 18:00 local time yesterday until 06:00 this morning, the force carried out 1,165 checks for protection measures in premises with two reports in Pafos and 4,250 checks for movement reporting 127 people. Concerning shops, the Police carried out 1,240 in Nicosia, 84 in Limassol, 268 in Pafos with two reports and 168 in the Famagusta district. With regard to movement, a total of 1,874 checks have been carried out in Nicosia and Morphou with 34 violations 501 in Larnaca with 41 violations, 98 in Pafos with 14 violations, 335 in Famagusta with six reports, while 154 carried out by the Police Headquarters Traffic Control and 13 checks the Police Emergency Response Unit (MAAD).
  • The House health committee will meet vis teleconference on Tuesday to be briefed by Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou on the latest developments in the Covid-19 crisis. Also on Tuesday morning, the parliamentary parties will forward to the ministry of finance their proposals regarding the bill for the €2 billion government loan guarantee scheme, which has failed so far to make it through the plenum. The total number of coronavirus cases stands at 465. The total number who have died is 14: nine who died from the virus and confirmed with Covid-19 but who died from other causes.
  • Bishop Isaiah of Tamassos and Orinis has suggested the government declare May 27 as a public holiday so that people can go to church for belated Easter celebrations. Church services are being held without congregations under decrees to contain the spread of coronavirus but are being broadcast on TV and the radio. The Council of Ministers meets tomorrow and is widely expected to extend the lock down until the end of April, effectively meaning that all Easter week services will also be held in empty churches. There has been growing speculation that the government will ask the church to hold services on May 27 for Easter celebrations, as is the case with Greece.

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