Cyprus will remain in lockdown until the end of April as efforts continue to contain the coronavirus pandemic, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Wednesday. In a televised statement, the president said that cabinet had decided to extend sweeping decrees that have brought the island to a virtual standstill until April 30, with no exception for Easter. He said the measures taken had delivered results and justified a “ray of light” but said there was no room to relax any measures because this could have potentially destructive consequences. The president announced that the support measures for business, employees and the self-employed will continue until June 12. State support will be offered for four months after that, based on specific criteria.
Thirty-two new Covid-19 cases were announced by the health ministry on Wednesday evening, bringing the total number to 526. Of the new cases, 24 were identified via contact tracing of previously confirmed infections. Eight are having their background history investigated. A total of 14,273 tests have been carried out which have resulted in the 526 positive results, said virologist Leontios Kostrikis. From the 526 cases, 390 originated in Cyprus. Today’s cases were identified via 1256 tests.
One more case of coronavirus was confirmed in the north on Wednesday, bringing the total to 95 so far. In total 178 samples were tested on Wednesday of which one was positive. It concerns a person who arrived from abroad. So far three people with coronavirus have died in the north.
Cyprus and Israel agreed on the exchange of treatment methods and protocols between the national corona centers of the two countries. In a joint statement, issued on Tuesday, Minister of Health of Cyprus, Constantinos Ioannou, and Ambassador of Israel in Cyprus, Shmuel Revel said the close neighborly ties between Israel and Cyprus and the telephone conversations between the Heads of State opened the door to an important cooperation confronting the threat of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The successful partnership between the two countries in the health field, significant in normal times, is even more vital in this time of emergency, the two added. An important first step, the two officials added, “is the exchange of treatment methods and protocols between the national corona centers in Israel and Cyprus –the Sheba Medical Center and the Famagusta General Hospital– as well as with Nicosia General Hospital Intensive Care Unit”. On Tuesday, “through a joint effort and an Israeli logistical assistance, 5 tons of API Chloroquine were imported from India. Together with existing stocks, this joint effort will ensure that we will have at our disposal very important quantities of Chloroquine needed for patients in Cyprus and in Israel”. Concluding Ioannou and Revel said that as the two countries “continue to face substantial challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, we will continue to explore every possibility to further enhance the cooperation between our countries”.
The Republic of Cyprus has priced on Tuesday two new benchmark-sized Euro Medium Term Notes for a total amount of €1.75 bn with Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides expressing satisfaction. An official press release said the €1.25 bn 7-year EMTN was priced at spread of 165 bps over the mid-swap rate and the €0.5 bn 30-year EMTN was priced at spread of 215 bps over the mid-swap rate. The combined orderbook reached €2.6 bn (€1.8 bn for the 7-year Note and €0,8 bn for the 30-year Note). It further said statistical details will be released on Wednesday. Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides expressed satisfaction with the two new EMTN, noting the combined orderbook rose to €2.6 bn which indicates that in this difficult economic time, which is very uncertain due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Cyprus economy continues to enjoy the trust of international markets.
American Medical Centre in Nicosia announced on Tuesday night it is resuming operations after implementing MoH protocol for the positive cases found in its premises, the CNA reports. The hospital had stopped taking new patients on Monday after four health care professionals and two patients there tested positive for coronavirus. In yesterday’s announcement, AMC said that all recommended action has been taken in its premisses as per MoH instructions, adding that “tracing of all suspect cases took place and all staff were subjected to Covid tests to ensure there are no positive cases.”
Cyprus tourism stakeholders are betting on attracting locals this summer since the coronavirus epidemic has raised fears that the season may well be over before it began, Phileleftheros reports. All indications are that domestic tourism will record a rise this year once life goes back to normal and restrictive measures are lifted. And hoteliers in Cyprus hope to lure locals reluctant to get on a plane and travel abroad for their holidays, reversing the recent trend which has seen Cypriots opting for overseas vacations en-mass. In fact, Deputy Ministry of Tourism data shows that domestic tourism last year amounted to just about 5% -6%. And that out of a total of 18 million recorded overnight stays at hotels, only about 1.1 million were by Cypriots.
A total of 5,090 checks carried out from 6pm on Tuesday until 6am on Wednesday led to just 76 people being booked for violating the decree on restricted movement, down from 127 during the same time the previous night. Around 1,200 premises were inspected, all of which complied with the measures, and 3,890 drivers and pedestrians were asked to show the relevant permits.