Cyprus has reached 39 confirmed COVID-19 cases, following seven new confirmed cases announced in the Republic of Cyprus and one announced in the non-government controlled areas (33+6). The latest two COVID-19 cases announced in the north of the country concern two Turkish Cypriots who entered the country from Larnaca airport on 3 and 4 March, from London. It is unclear as to whether any tracing is taking place on Greek Cypriots who were on board those flights but bi-communal cooperation would be needed on the issue. At the same time, the British Ministry of Defence has announced that there are two confirmed COVID-19 cases in the UK Armed Forces permanently based at RAF Akrotiri in the Sovereign Base Areas. They flew from UK on March 13 into Paphos and they remain now in self-isolation at RAF Akrotiri.
The British Foreign Office has issued a statement noting that citizens of the Republic of Cyprus who are temporarily located or permanently reside abroad have been advised to be particularly cautious, to follow local and international media on the latest developments regarding COVID-19, to adhere to the relevant instructions of the country’s authorities, to take self-protection measures, and to inform the accredited Diplomatic Mission of the Republic of their presence in the country.
The first two patients hospitalised after testing positive for COVID-19 are to be discharged today from Famagusta Hospital in Paralimni which is the referral hospital for the virus, the Cyprus News Agency reports. It said that the two had been admitted last Wednesday. They have been discharged and transferred to facilities specified by the government where they will self-isolate for 14 days. The condition of the other six patients is good, their health is improving daily and their treatment is preventive since their symptoms are mild, doctors told the news agency. Since last Friday, a special triage medical office has started operation at Famagusta Hospital where suspect cases will be examined and samples taken. It operates by appointment during the day and at night opens if the need arises once patients have contacted the call centre on 1420.
Cancellation of flights to and from Larnaca and Paphos Airports are continuing in the wake of the sweeping new measures adopted by the government to stem the spread of COVID-19, including a ban on arrivals without a special health certificate. The Cyprus News Agency reports that 23% of the scheduled flights to Larnaca were cancelled on Sunday with a total of 22,500 travelling over the weekend. The airplanes were on average 51% full. It said that today up until 1:40 am on Tuesday, there will be a total of 32 departures and up to 12.40 tomorrow, a total of 32 arrivals. There will be flights to and from Larnaca Airport to Athens, Thesaloniki, Sofia, Vienna, Malta, Amman, Dubai, Moscow, Beirut, Munich, Brussels, Bucharest and other destinations. As regards Paphos Airport, today and through to 5 am tomorrow there will be eight departures and eight arrivals, including Amman, Beirut, Tel Aviv, Manchester, Stansted, Luton, Glasgow and Thessaloniki, the news agency added. There are no unscheduled repatriation flights to bring passengers to Cyprus before 6 pm today when the new rules requiring the health certificate kick in. Philenews reports a rush at Athens airport with Cypriots trying to make it home in time with ticket prices soaring.
Cyprus Airways said on Monday that further to the additional measures announced yesterday by the Cypriot government to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country, it was suspending its flights’ schedule until the end of April 2020. More specifically, the airline will cancel all flights from Tuesday, March 17 until April 30, inclusive. All affected passengers will be informed about their cancelled flights via email and will be offered a 100% refund or the option to change to one of the flights that will commence from May 1, 2020 at no extra cost.
Two Russian airlines have suspended their flight programme to Cyprus but Aeroflot has not, it was announced on Monday. Rossiya Airlines and S7 have announced that they are suspending their flight to Cyprus but the island was not included in Aeroflot’s list of 16 destinations to which it was suspending flights. Aeroflot announced on Sunday that its flights to Prague, Frankfurt, Munich, Thessaloniki, Barcelona, Zurich, Copenhagen, Oslo and others were suspended. However, the company will continue to fly to some of these destinations for the repatriation of Russian nationals. Rossiya Airlines, a member of the Aeroflot group, announced the cancellation of flights from Moscow’s Vnukovo and Pulkovo airports to Cyprus, starting last Saturday, with only return flights on the cards.
From 18.00 on 16/3/2020 and 30/4/2020, entry to the Republic of Cyprus will only be granted to individuals who fall under the categories listed below, provided that, upon arrival, they are able to submit a medical certificate, issued no more than 4 days before, showing that they have been tested for COVID-19 by certified medical centers in their country of origin:
Legal residents in the Republic of Cyprus.
European nationals or third-country nationals working in the Republic.
Nationals of countries who are in a designated diplomatic service or mission under bilateral or international Conventions.
European or third country nationals attending educational institutions in the Republic of Cyprus.
Individual cases of European nationals or third-country nationals for unavoidable professional obligations, provided that the relevant permit has been obtained from the competent Ministry.
All travelers returning to Cyprus from abroad, regardless of their country of origin, will be placed under a 14-day compulsory quarantine at accommodation facilities designated by the Republic of Cyprus. Havoc has erupted following the announcement by the Republic of Cyprus, as many students are in countries like the United Kingdom, Belgium and Switzerland that do not accept to have medical tests on the virus, without any symptoms.
Courts will remain open amid the COVID-19 crisis, but will only be handling urgent cases, civil and criminal, it was announced on Monday.Following a meeting in the morning, Supreme Court president Myron Nicolatos said starting Monday, courts will only be handling urgent cases under criteria that will be decided and announced.