The number of coronavirus (Covid-19) cases on the island has risen to seven as four newly discovered cases were traced in the south of the country on Wednesday. All the cases appear to be in a good state, some of them are even recuperating at home. One of the people who tested positive to the coronavirus is a taxi driver who did not come in contact with any other confirmed case and hence there is an intense attempt to trace his contacts and the person who transmitted the virus. Three of the confirmed cases have arrived from the United Kingdom (UK), raising concerns and questions as to the Republic of Cyprus government’s decision to remove the UK from Category 2 in its travel advisory (calling for all those who arrive from countries placed in category 2, to self-isolate for 14 days). The measure was deemed to bring huge financial cost to Cyprus and it was hence withdrawn but it could be reversed. In the areas that are not under the Republic of Cyprus’ effective control, only one case out of five suspected cases has tested positive. It is admitted by most experts who have commented on the issue that the number of confirmed cases in Cyprus will now be on the rise for a while.
The Republic of Cyprus ministerial committee (cabinet) has decided that schools across the country will be closed from Friday until 20 March. Universities are closed until 22 March. Long-distance learning will be attempted while the European Union Ministers of Education will hold an emergency tele-conference on the ways to tackle this crisis. Nicosia and Limassol General Hospitals remain partially closed but some outpatient clinics have opened. Despite the small number of cases up until now in Cyprus, the measures the RoC has taken are much stricter than the recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC), according to Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou on Wednesday. Ioannou has not ruled out stricter measures in the future, WHO has labelled Covid-19 a pandemic.The government is considering support measures for companies and workers to address the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, according to Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides. Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou is discussing support for parents who need to stay home because of the closure of schools, among other issues. A RoC ministerial committee is expected to announce a series of measures in the course of the day. An extended meeting is taking place in the internationally non-recognised Turkish Cypriot administration in order to discuss further measures in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus.