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Update – 14/03/2020

  • Seven of Cyprus’ 21 confirmed coronavirus cases are from the same family and were detected as part of the Health Ministry’s contact tracing measures, officials said on Saturday. The clinical condition of all 21 is fairly good, with all of them exhibiting mild symptoms, Health Ministry official Margarita Kyriakou told CyBC on Saturday. Of the 21, five are in Famagusta Hospital at Paralimni which is the designated referral hospital for coronavirus cases. The hospital has been cleared and has 120 beds available for such cases. The remaining 16 coronavirus patients are at home, in self-isolation, and are being monitored by Health Ministry medical professionals. “The situation is under control and this is demonstrated by the large number of tests that have been carried out. Up until yesterday, a total of 900 tests were carried out which means that contacts of confirmed cases are being checked so as to prevent the virus spreading in the community,” she said. She added that people were complying with instructions, self-monitoring and contacting authorities when they develop symptoms.
  • The government will announce measures to support the economy by Wednesday, government spokesman Kyriacos Koushos said on Saturday. The spokesman said President Nicos Anastasiades did not announce any fiscal measures during his address on Friday evening because they were not yet finalised. The measures have to be costed and submitted to the EU for approval, he told the Cyprus News Agency. “The measures are almost ready, they are being costed according to sector and they must be sent to the EU for approval,” he said. Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides said this week that the package will include a mix of grants and tax breaks. Some aim at protecting jobs and vulnerable groups of the population. The government is also examining ways to support workers affected by the decision to close schools.
  • Rossiya Airlines (part of Aeroflot Group) is suspending flights from Moscow’s Vnukovo airport and St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo airport to Cyprus on March 14 and will only operate return flights because of the spread of the novel coronavirus, Tass reported on Saturday.“Due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus and the related decision by the immigration authorities of Cyprus, Rossiya Airlines informs passengers of the cancellation of flights operated jointly with the Biblio Globus tour operator from Vnukovo and St. Petersburg from March 14. Return flights will be performed according to schedule and will be used to take passengers out [of the country],” Tass quoted the company as saying. Meanwhile, Russia will suspend regular air service with all EU member-states excluding flights between Moscow and EU capitals starting March 16. Flights to Switzerland and Norway, except the ones to Geneva and Oslo, will be suspended as well.
  • TUI Airways has cancelled flights to Paphos from certain airports in the UK, the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) said Saturday. Citing unsourced information, CNA said Tui cancelled Saturday flights to and from Manchester, Birmingham, Luton and Bristol. Passengers were urged to keep informed through airport operator Hermes’ website and social media pages, as well as the airlines. On Friday, the government announced travel restrictions in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Starting Sunday and for two weeks, entry will be banned for anyone who is not a Cypriot citizen, a legal resident, European or third-country nationals working on the island, foreign nationals on authorised duty under bilateral or international conventions, isolated cases of European and third-country nationals on business, which cannot be avoided (requires special permission), and students from European and third countries. People who belong in these categories coming from Hubei in China, Italy, Iran, and South Korea, would be quarantined for 14 days. All others would have to self-isolate for 14 days. People from those groups who choose to leave the island before the 14 days expire would be able to do so, provided they do not have any symptoms.
  • The Cyprus Sports Organisation (KOA) announced on Friday that, on the instructions of the health and education ministers, the operation of private gyms but also of KOA’s sports venues would be suspended until April 10.
  • The health ministry announced it had launched a new hotline,1450, for those seeking information about coronavirus. The move was deemed necessary after the hotline to report possible cases of Covid-19, 1420, was inundated with calls from members of the public asking all sorts of questions about the virus making it difficult for persons having symptoms to call and ask for help and instructions on what to do. The health ministry urged members of the public who need more information about coronavirus to call the new line 1450. The 1420 hotline is exclusively for persons who need to inform authorities they have the Covid-19 symptoms, the ministry said.

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