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Update – 12/05/2020

  • Two new coronavirus cases and one more death were announced by the health ministry on Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases to 903. A 72-year-old woman with underlying health issues died at Famagusta General. She died with the virus, but not of the virus, national health service (Okypy)’s scientific director, Dr Marios Loizou said. Earlier, the ministry reported there were 11 patients being treated at Famagusta General reference hospital.
  • According to the latest infographics published by the Health Ministry on Tuesday, as of May 10 only 6% of those who tested positive to Covid-19 in Cyprus are younger than 18 years old. According to the update, the majority of cases is still in the age group 18-59 years old at a rate of 69%. A total of 449 people who contracted Coronavirus (50% of all cases) have recovered, while the number of patients being treated in ICUs has been steadily decreasing since April 28.
  • Experts have voiced concerns in recent days over the detection of several coronavirus cases among vulnerable groups of the population who are being screened as part of a health ministry programme. Health authorities have detected six such cases out of 207 tests, raising the alarm since they all concern vulnerable people who are being tested as part of a programme to prevent the virus from spreading. The group includes cancer patients before treatment or rehabilitation, people awaiting surgery, pregnant women, elderly people who will be admitted into care homes, individual with mental problems who will be admitted into psychiatric facilities, abuse children before they enter safe homes, addicts who will undergo treatment, trafficking victims, and first-degree relatives of people in critical condition in ICUs for the purpose of visiting them. Professor of microbiology and molecular virology at the University of Nicosia Medical School, Petros Karayiannis said it was concerning because they did not appear to know how they got infected. Most, he said, are confined at home because of the situation so perhaps someone close to them who is asymptomatic has infected them. “It is very difficult to say where the infection came from. This tells us that we have cases out there who are perhaps asymptomatic, and some are transmitting (the virus,” he said. Karayiannis said vulnerable people should protect themselves even more now that restrictions were eased. “Of course, this does not mean they should shut themselves in jail; they can go out for a walk but with their mask on and keeping distances from those they meet.” Karayiannis, who is a member of the health ministry’s advisory committee, stressed that people in closed public spaces must wear masks. The committee is scheduled to meet with President Nicos Anastasiades on Friday to discuss the situation ahead of the planned second phase of easing the restrictions.
  • Cyprus Minister of Finance Constantinos Petrides warned political parties which continue debating a bill for the provision of state guarantee to businesses hit by the coronavirus outbreak that “the crisis is here and should not be underestimated.” In a written statement, Petrides criticised some political parties that despite the fact that the government has implemented most their suggestions they continuously submit new demands and obstacles to the approval of a very important bill for the economy. Last week the government submitted a revised bill featuring €1.5 billion of state guarantees to businesses and self-employed, accompanied by direct grants to very small businesses and self-employed persons. Petrides said that the bill was subject to lengthy discussions for the last one and a half month with the political parties in the context of the discussion of the parliamentary committee on Finances and Budgetary Affairs. “After three meetings by the said Committee, the submission of written suggestions by all parliamentary parties, which have been answered by the Finance Ministry, but also the discussion during a meeting under the President of the Republic and despite the endorsement of the majority of their suggestion, some parties continuously submit new demands and new obstacles to the approval of a very important bill for the economy,” Petrides added.
  • Labour inspectors checking compliance with decrees to prevent the spread of coronavirus closed seven construction sites and fined six individuals after carrying out 95 checks islandwide on Tuesday. Up till 2 pm, inspectors carried out a total of 750 checks, of which 655 of shops. There they found a satisfactory level of compliance but there were cases of inadequate signage, particularly on the floor., according to an official announcement. The remaining 95 checks were of construction sites where compliance was found to be average. At some sites there were no sanitary and washing facilities, masks were not being used where they were required, workers were not keeping a distance from each other and had not been briefed on protection measures. The inspectors closed seven construction sites — three in Nicosia and four in Limassol. They also issued six out of court fines to individuals working at four construction sites in Nicosia and two in Limassol. Inspectors will continue their checks and where required will issue sanctions prescribed by law (out of court fines, legal action and suspension of operations), the announcement concluded.
  • A week after shops reopened, shopkeepers are disappointed with business. Visits to shops have translated into few purchases, with consumers cautious about spending money while costs continue to pile up. Marios Antoniou, general secretary of the Pancyprian Association of Retail Trade spoke of a “catastrophic” first week. “People left their homes to get out, but visits and transactions at the cash register were significantly down,” he said. “Many of our members are seriously considering closing down and joining the scheme for total suspension of operations,” he said. Shops qualify for the scheme if turnover is down by 80% and they are linked with businesses which have suspended operations. Examples are businesses that have outlets in shopping malls and souvenir and clothing shops in the tourist areas. The operating environment is made even more difficult by the lack of liquidity.
  • Cyprus Police reported 128 people for violating containment measures aiming to curb the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak in the last 24 hours. From March 11, when the measures were first implemented, the police have reported a total of 10,627 violations out of 811,624 spot checks. From 0600 hours on Monday morning until the early hours of Tuesday morning the Police carried out a total of 14,136 checks throughout Cyprus. In particular out of 11,902 checks on pedestrians and drivers police reported 127 violations, while only one violation was reported out of 2,234 spot checks in various premises across the island.

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