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Update – 15/06/2020

  • Another two people have tested positive for coronavirus after 622 tests bringing the total to 985, the Health Ministry said on Monday. One is from 143 test results from repatriations and the second from 153 tests from private initiative. The first case is a Bulgarian permanent resident who flew to Cyprus from Sofia yesterday and all protocols to trace the individual’s contacts have been activated.  The second is a crew member of a ship who was due, with other members of the ship’s crew, to travel to neighbouring country for professional reasons and all underwent Covid-19 tests.
  • The government will introduce rapid coronavirus tests at airports to minimise the waiting time for passengers arriving in Cyprus, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said on Monday. According to the minister, the results will be ready in around an hour and a half and will be intended for those who must take the test upon their arrival from abroad, mainly Cypriot nationals and legal residents who were not able to take the test abroad. Until now, Cypriots and permanent residents arriving from countries that are not in categories A and B must go to a hotel for one day in quarantine until the result is announced. “What will change, is that they will wait at the airport until the result is available,” he said. He added that the tests will also be offered to passengers arriving from countries whose authorities do not offer such tests, but only after the Cypriot authorities make sure that this is the case. “This will solve several problems without overlooking the issue of safety and health related to the coronavirus,” he said.
  • Thousands of employees and businesses are standing by in anticipation of the Finance and Labour Ministry’s new support schemes to boost employment, as the coronavirus crisis continues to buffer the economy. The schemes which were launched with the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak ended on June 12, and the government with social partners have been locked in discussions regarding the next phase. This is expected to be more targeted than the previous schemes, given that the majority of sectors of the economy has reopened, combined with a need to rein in public spending amid plummeting revenue and as rising public debt which is projected to hit 116.8% of GDP in 2020, from 95.5% in 2019. Cabinet is expected to finalise and approve the latest schemes either on Tuesday or Wednesday. Efforts are understood to be underway to include as many professional groups as possible. However, the wider the scheme, the less the money expected to go to each sector, Phileleftheros reports. It adds that pressure being exercised by employers groups have led President Nicos Anastasiades to have second thoughts and he has instructed his ministers to review the schemes. One of the most vulnerable groups is the tourism sector and the challenge here is how to maintain employment. The hotel sector accounts for some 22,000 employees, a large number of whom have been out of work since the winter and with a very real prospect that at least some hotels will not open at all this summer. The new scheme is expected to be in force until the end of October.
  • An Oxford University study ranks Cyprus in the top 10 of a global league table of countries on preparedness for easing their coronavirus lockdowns, according to Scotland’s The National. The study examined which countries met four of the World Health Organisation’s six recommendations for relaxing their physical distancing measures. Those recommendations include having Covid-19 transmission controlled “to a level of sporadic cases and clusters of cases, all from known contact” or at a minimum reduced to a level that the health system can cope with, ensuring sufficient public health workforce is in place for track and trace efforts and making sure the risk of exporting and importing cases from communities with high transmission case is minimised, the National said. The countries ranked in the top 10 on their preparedness were New Zealand, Greenland, Rwanda, Taiwan, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Seychelles, Slovak Republic, Trinidad and Tobago and Vietnam. Cyprus is in the process of rolling back all restrictions this month, with most recent coronavirus cases concerning repatriated individuals. It has drawn a list of 29 countries from where people can travel to the island under certain conditions.
  • Police carried out 1055 checks on various businesses in the past 24 hours and booked 29 for breaking measures aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus. In an announcement, police said that from 6 am on Sunday to 6 am on Monday, they had carried out the following checks:
    • Nicosia — 63 checks, none booked
    • Limassol — 80 checks, three booked
    • Larnaca: 483 checks, two booked
    • Paphos: 112 checks, 13 booked
    • Famagusta: 85 checks, nine booked
    • Morphou area: 232 checks, two booked 

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