Update – 11/03/2020
March 11, 2020
Following the first three coronavirus cases island-wide, a series of measures are taken in order to tackle the spread of the virus. The Republic of Cyprus cabinet took a series of decisions in order to tackle the situation. The list of measures announced is the following:
- Closing of all state and private schools (except some in the rural areas) and universities in Nicosia until the end of the week. The University of Cyprus separately announced that it will be closed until the 25 March.
- The four crossing points to the non-government controlled areas will remain closed until the cabinet’s next meeting next week,18 March.
- Football fixtures will be held behind closed doors.
- Assemblies of over 75 people in closed venues are banned until the end of the month (this includes church services and has been met with outspoken reaction and resistance by the Orthodox Church of Cyprus that announced that it will continue to hold the services and will not be counting the faithful. The Holy Synod insists that holy communion is the “blood and body of Christ” and hence it cannot in any way be infected.)
- All mass events, assemblies, concerts, and parades in public venues are cancelled.
A total of 185 tests from people who have had contact with the two confirmed cases, have been carried out by the Institute of Neurology and Genetics, all of which came back negative, the head of the institute said on Wednesday. At the same time, both the Nicosia General Hospital as well as the Limassol one remain in quarantine for 48 hours that expire tomorrow. At the same time, while the Republic of Cyprus had yesterday updated its travel guidelines calling people arriving in Cyprus from the United Kingdom and Greece to remain in self-isolation for 14 days. This was later changed due to significant concerns by the Tourism Deputy Ministry, hoteliers and parents of students who would be arriving from those two countries. The United Kingdom was eventually removed while only parts of Greece where eventually included in the directive.
The unrecognised Turkish Cypriot administration has also issued a series of measures in order to tackle the spread of the virus in the northern part of the country. The measures include:
- All schools and universities will remain closed until Monday.
- All charter flights to the north from Germany and France are cancelled until 1 April.
- Tighter controls are to be taking place at crossing points to the south.
- Groups of over 10 persons will not be allowed to cross from the south to the north.
As it was mentioned, the 65 year-old tourist who is infected is responding well to treatment and that four others who had come to close contact with her were in quarantine and being kept under close observation. No other cases of the virus have been reported but the group of 141 which travelled with the German woman was also being kept in quarantine.
Information on the epidemic is available on the Press and Information Office dedicated website www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus.