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Update – 08/05/2020

  • Two people have tested positive for Coronavirus after 1957 diagnostic tests the Health Ministry said on Friday. This brings the total number to 891 (including 10 in the British Bases). Dr Leontios Kostrikis said that the results as the first working week of easing of measures comes to an end allow for optimism but we must remain vigilant.
  • President Anastasiades made a televised statement on Friday assuring parents that schools will reopen on 21 May under preconditions and provided that the epidemiological situation permits. The move came after intense criticism and concerns against the government’s decision to reopen schools on 21 May. The decision was criticised as hasty and premature by organised teachers and students with some claiming that the government was responding to pressure by businessmen rather than taking decisions based on epidemiological data. Concern was increased when one of the epidemiologists in the government’s team, Leontios Kostrikkis, stated two days ago that the decision to open schools was not part of the suggestions made by the President’s team of epidemiologists. The team itself appears to be divided on the issue, but Kostrikkis’ statements impacted the way the public perceived the decision. In his statement, the President spoke of ‘intense concern’ among the public, parents, teachers and pupils about the government’s decision to reopen schools. “Taking into consideration the epidemiological conditions, the recommendations of the scientific team, the time needed to prepare the schools, the teachers, the parents and other stakeholders, the government decided that all levels of education should resume on May 21 when the second phase of the lifting of the restrictive measures starts,” he said. But he said he wanted to make clear that a necessary precondition to implementing the decision and of the other measures announced remain the epidemiological situation, the final opinions of the scientific advisors and the strict adherence of the hygiene protocols to protect teachers, children and their immediate environment. The president said that the concerns cited were understandable but unfounded since everything will depend on the epidemiological situation and the opinion of the scientific team.
  • Cyprus Foreign Minister, Nikos Christodoulides, has told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) that many states are currently evaluating the situation concerning the coronavirus pandemic and its impact at the international level, and this will probably lead to redefining policies and approaches. Asked about the repercussions of the pandemic on the international political arena, Christodoulides expressed the belief that we shall see changes both at the international level and in the inter-state relations after the pandemic is over.
  • Labour inspectors on Friday closed down four construction sites for failure to implement decrees to prevent the spread of coronavirus  — two in Limassol, one in Paphos and one in Larnaca. Overall, they carried out 726 inspections of which 650 on shops where they found satisfactory level of compliance, although there were cases where there was a lack of signage. They also carried out 76 inspections of construction sites where they found a moderate level of compliance. Some did not have the required hygiene facilities, workers were not wearing masks where required, were no observing distancing rules and had not been briefed about protective measures. In four cases, construction sites were ordered to cease operations. Since Monday, there have a total of 3,724 inspections of which  3,160 of shops and 564 of construction sites. A total of 26 construction sites were ordered to cease operations because of serious violations. Inspections will continue and if necessary penalties will be imposed as per the law (out of of court fines, prosecution and immediate cessation of operations), the Labour Ministry added..
  • Cyprus and Israel have set up a working group to prepare for the resumption of flights between the two countries, Israel’s ambassador in Nicosia Shmuel Revel told CNA on Friday. The working group is made up of health, airline and tourism experts and will prepare the required regulations for approval by decision makers. “There are risks which must be minimised but there is also a significant opportunity to further deepen synergies between Israel and Cyprus,” the ambassador said. Asked about tourism cooperation options in the light of the coronavirus outbreak, Revel said the first priority is passengers’ health and safety. “The work we have started is an important first step so that Israelis and Cypriots can once more cover the short distance between the two countries. This will also open the door for further development of our economic ties, trade, industry, energy, innovation and gradually also tourism,” he said.
  • Police carried out 5,423 checks overnight and booked 62 pedestrians and drivers for breaking the lockdown decree — with Nicosia accounting for the biggest number of violations.

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