Two people have tested positive for coronavirus after 1659 diagnostic tests on Thursday, with experts sounding an optimistic tone that the second week since the first relaxation of restrictive measures was coming to a close without any upsets. “The figures we announce today are particularly encouraging. The low R0 (reproduction rate), the low number of hospitalisations and the low number of new cases fill us with optimism,” Dr Leontios Kostrikis told a daily press conference. “As we approach the end of the second week since the relaxation of measures, there have been no reversals,” he said.
According to the latest report by the Health Ministry’s Epidemiological Surveillance Unit published on Thursday, 280 (31%) of 904 cases recorded until May 12 did not have symptoms.
The British bases on Thursday reported another confirmed case of coronavirus. “We can confirm that one further member of the British Forces Cyprus community yesterday (May 13) tested positive for Covid-19. The individual is currently in self-isolation and displaying only mild symptoms,” an announcement said. “This brings the total number of positive tests within the British Bases to 12.” The eleventh positive case was confirmed by the bases on Tuesday. The infected person also displayed mild symptoms.
Some €894m worth of instalments will not be paid to banks until the end of the year on close to €7.4bn in loans, as part of a borrower relief scheme amid the coronavirus crisis. It followed a bill enabling borrowers to suspend repayment of their loans for nine months, starting in March. Around 61 per cent, or €4.53bn, concern business loans with the remaining €2.85bn relating to household debt, the central bank said. Broken down, €632.6m represented instalments that otherwise would have been paid towards business loans. Over 27,000 borrowers applied to have their instalments suspended – 24,266 households and 2,961 businesses – representing 46,734 credit facilities, as borrowers could apply for suspension of instalments on more than one loan. The majority, or 38,847, represented household debt.
Authorities on Thursday ordered shut six construction sites found to be non-compliant with coronavirus-related health and hygiene regulations. In a statement, the ministry of labour said the six construction sites lacked the required hygiene and cleaning facilities. They were closed down temporarily until they meet the requirements. Inspectors carried out 695 across the island during the day – 73 at construction sites and 622 at the premises of retail outlets. Also on Thursday, four persons working at these sites were issued spot fines for various violations. Overall since May 4, 6,556 inspections have taken place – 5612 in retail and 944 at construction sites. To date, inspectors have shuttered 54 constructions sites, and issued fines to 14 persons.
A total of 80 drivers and pedestrians were booked for breaking the lockdown decree overnight — nearly half of them in Limassol — with police carrying out 3293 checks from 6 pm on Wednesday to 6 am on Thursday.
Concerts, cultural and music festivals attract large crowds of people and authorities are considering whether to allow them after July 14, as they roll out the fourth stage of gradual easing of restrictions imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19. “Concert and festivals usually involve hundreds of people gathering in the same place,” a health ministry announcement said. “That is why they will only be permitted after we enter the fourth and last phase of the lifting of the measures.” The health ministry added that, should the pandemic take a turn for the worse and the number of new cases rise, they will revert to the ban on large gatherings.