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Update – 11/05/2020

  • Another three have tested positive to the virus from 1046 tests, the Health Ministry said on Monday, bringing the total cases to 901 (including ten at the British Bases). Dr Leontios Kostrikis said the team of experts are highly concerned about four positive cases yesterday from tests conducted on people redirected to Public Medical Centres for Covid tests, like cancer patients, patients prior to undergoing surgery, pregnant women before labour and senior citizens before moving to an elderly home. He said that the Epidemiological Surveillance Unit will closely monitor these incidents and make announcements accordingly. Kostrikis also made reference to final year pupils who went back to school today wishing them good luck and urged them to adhere to measures.
  • Cyprus recorded only 26 new coronavirus cases in the week of May 4 to 10, which is the lowest weekly total since the start of the outbreak here. In the first week (March 9 to 15) Cyprus recorded 30 cases. The worst week was that of March 30 to April 5, when a total of 232 new cases were recorded.
  • Cyprus has extended its ban on passenger flights to May 28, according to an announcement published by the Transport Ministry on Monday. The extension is effective as of midnight of May 15 when the current ban expires. The following continue to be excepted from the ban (subject to obtaining a special permit from the Transport Minister): cargo flights, inbound rescue flights not carrying passengers to repatriate people stranded in Cyprus to their home countries, humanitarian / ambulance / repatriation flights or individual flights for emergencies
  • The market needs oxygen, while the least citizens expect from politicians is to reach a consensus in order to support the economy in line with a prudent policy without placing it in further danger, Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides has told CNA. Petrides was replying to a CNA question on the outcome of consultations on Monday via teleconference with the parliamentary committee of financial and budgetary affairs on four bills which aim to support the Cypriot economy. The discussion took place “in a positive climate,” he said, expressing the view that “we are close in reaching a parliamentary majority in order for an extremely important package in support of Cypriot businesses to be approved.” Referring to a bill on government guarantees for bank loans to businesses, Petrides said that “we have included as many political party proposals as we could.” MPs put forward a number of issues which will be discussed again when the committee is convened later on this week, he added. The Finance Minister went to say that during the meeting matters were raised which are not in line with the bill’s philosophy nor the European Commission’s framework. The guarantees scheme, he explained, constitutes an incentive in order for credit institutions to allocate part of their liquidity to businesses under favourable conditions, as defined by the European framework, reducing banks’ risks because otherwise under current conditions liquidity would have not been made the most of. The state, he explained cannot substitute financial work nor can it take away the liquidity of banks and use it.  The scheme, he noted, “must and can work.” This support, Petrides stressed, “is very important for small entrepreneurs.” A persistent proposal to increase or multiply the amount of support to be given, he noted, “does not constitute a concrete proposal.” The government, he said, “has shown its good will and the discussion must soon be completed.” “The market needs oxygen, while the least citizens expect from politicians is to reach a consensus in order to support the economy in line with a prudent policy without placing it in further danger,” Petrides pointed out.
  • The University of Cyprus’ Economics Research Centre has projected that the country’s GDP is set to drop by 6.9% in 2020 under a baseline scenario and by 13.1% under an adverse scenario. In its economic outlook of May 2020 the University of Cyprus’ Economics Research Centre notes that the Cypriot economy “is projected to suffer a severe contraction in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Real GDP is projected to drop by 6.9% in 2020, under the baseline scenario, it adds. The projection incorporates the direct impact of containment measures enforced in Cyprus, thereby reducing the production capacity in sectors of economic activity; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic relating to reduced capacity utilization due to measures/restrictions, which will remain in place after the relaxation of the initial containment measures and the impact of reduced external demand, particularly demand for tourist services. “Due to the high uncertainty surrounding the outlook, two alternative scenarios are considered, a baseline and an adverse one,” the ERC says. The scenarios, it explains, differ with respect the adjustment period experienced in each sector, following the complete lifting of containment measures in the particular sector and the evolution of external demand. During the adjustment period, “sectors are assumed to operate below their normal capacity utilisation levels due to supply and demand constraints.” The baseline scenario assumes an adjustment period of two months and a reduction in external demand for tourist services in Cyprus from April to August, translating into a decrease of 40% in annual tourist arrivals. At the same time, the sector of retail trade, transportation, accommodation and food service activities and the sector of arts, entertainment, recreation and other service activities are associated with the largest output losses, amounting to around 20% of their gross value added. Significant output losses are also estimated for construction, manufacturing, as well as administrative and support service activities, the ECR adds. “In the adverse scenario, which assumes a longer adjustment period and a sharp reduction in external demand, the contraction in real GDP could be as severe as 13.1%,” it says.
  • Around ten thousand final year high-school students returned to public schools on Monday, after almost two months away from their classes due to the restrictive measures to curb the spread of coronavirus. Students in their final year at secondary school level, as well as in technical schools and third year students in professional education and training returned to their classes on Monday with a maximum of 12 students per classroom. Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Minister Prodromos Prodromou was scheduled to visit two high schools in the Archangelos area of Nicosia to see for himself the students’ return. A prerequisite for opening all levels of education in Cyprus remains the epidemiological situation, the final views of the scientific advisors and the strict adherence to hygiene rules for teachers, students and all those working in the school environment, President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades had said last week. The minister had said the return to schools will proceed with strict implementation to health guidelines and protocols. Parents, teachers’ unions and political parties expressed their concern as to whether students are safe to return to schools.
  • The future of the Cyprus football season will be discussed in a meeting of the Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades with the leadership of Cyprus Football Association on Thursday. According to CNA sources, the meeting will take place in the Presidential Palace at 11 o’ clock in the morning and it will also be attended by the Ministers of Health and Finance. The main issue of the discussion will be the protocol governing the continuation of the Cyprus Championship and the Cup, the training and all the parameters related to football, such as travel, sports facilities, and what will happen in a possible coronavirus case in one or more clubs. The Protocol should be ready by Thursday from the Association in order to be presented and discussed in the meeting.  
  • A total of 93 motorists and pedestrians and five premises were booked during 12 hours from Sunday evening until Monday morning for violating the ban on movements. From 6pm until 6am police inspected 410 premises and checked 3,245 people in cars and on foot.

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