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Update – 17/03/2020

  • A teacher at an elementary school in Aglandjia has tested positive for the COVID-19 , media reports said on Tuesday. The parents’ association is letting the parents know while the school will be disinfected. According to daily Phileleftheros the teacher herself informed people about the diagnosis via her Facebook account on Sunday evening, saying she had recently flown to Athens with her parents. While her parents showed symptoms of the disease, she herself is not sick despite testing positive. She also posted that the day before the test, she went to work and met with friends and apologised for having unintentionally spread the virus. The teacher said she will help her students as much as she can from home.
  • About 70 passengers who arrived at Larnaca and Paphos Airports without the required health certificate last night, a couple of hours after new rules kicked, have been taken to quarantine facilities in Troodos and Platres while the government takes stock of how to help Cypriots stranded abroad. The new rules came into force at 6 pm on Monday and are in force until April 30. They require all those coming to Cyprus to have a health certificate from an accredited lab from the country of destination that they have tested negative for the virus. They must also spend two weeks in quarantine in facilities designated by the state. But there has been a flood of complaints on social media by affected individuals who say they are unable to obtain such a certificate as overstretched health authorities only test those who have symptoms. Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos rushed to Larnaca Airport last night after about 40 passengers from London were initially informed they could not disembark. They were eventually allowed off the airplane and sent by bus to the Deok camping facilities in Platres. One of the passengers on the airplane told CyBC radio on Tuesday morning that only five of the passengers are students and the rest are Cypriots returning home from business and other trips. All are now at the Platres camping site. He said that it was impossible to obtain a health certificate in the UK and that the airline had not asked for one, asking only to see documents that they were Cypriot nationals.
  • The Cyprus High Commission in London has set up two new hotlines for Cypriots stranded in the UK following the government’s latest travel restrictions in effect from March 16, 18:00 Cyprus time up to and including April 30.
  • The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre has set up a crisis centre at the old terminal at Larnaca Airport to coordinate implementation of entry restrictions to Cyprus that came into force at 6 pm on Monday evening. Transport Ministry permanent secretary Stavros Michail said the aim was to ensure that only those with health certificates are allowed to disembark. He said that two teams have been set up, one for the airports and one for the ports. Seventeen flights are expected at Larnaca Airport and eight at Paphos Airport today. One of the flights has already arrived empty. The second from Qatar had six passengers.
  • The European Investment Bank announced it will rapidly mobilise up to €40 billion in funding for Cypriot and European businesses and the State Health Services Organisation circulated an update on the operation of Cyprus public hospitals.
  • Two Nicosia army camps are in quarantine after an officer tested positive for COVID-19 at one of them and another officer awaits results of a test in the second. Meanwhile, another officer at the National Guard headquarters in Nicosia was among 13 confirmed cases announced yesterday and measures are being taken there as well. As the army HQ is located in the same building as the Defence Ministry, as a precaution Defence Minister Savvas Angelides was tested and is working from home. A spokesman told CyBC radio on Tuesday morning that the result has come out of negative, and that minister was awaiting instructions from the Health Ministry. According to the spokesman one of the officers contracted the virus from relatives who came from the UK and the second officer had visited Greece. All areas are being disinfected while strict hygiene rules are being enforced, he added. The spokesman assured there was no reason for concern, adding that checks were continuing.
  • The Institute of Neurology and Genetics confirmed on Monday that 13 more people tested positive for COVID-19, raising the total figure to 46 in the south. Eleven of the 13 new cases that tested positive for the virus on Monday involve Paphos General Hospital medical professionals who had come in contact with a patient that later emerged as a confirmed case. The patient, an elderly foreign national who had been hospitalized in early February, tested positive for the virus on Sunday night, with the Paphos General going into a 48-hour lockdown. The confirmation of 11 more infections among staff of the hospital may lead the Health Ministry to take additional measures. The two remaining new cases involve people who had recently travelled to the UK and Greece and who began showing symptoms shortly after returning. The 13 new cases brought the total confirmed COVID-19 cases to 46 in the south, 25 of which were contacts of other confirmed cases.
  • One more case of the COVID-19 has been reported in the north raising the total number to seven, reports said on Tuesday. The case concerns a German national who had been in quarantine in a hotel. He was taken to hospital in Nicosia.
  • Elections in the north for the next Turkish Cypriot leader were on Tuesday reportedly postponed for six months due to the COVID-19 crisis. According to media in the north the decision was taken during a meeting under Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in which the ‘parliamentary’ political party leaders and officials participated. The elections were scheduled to take place on April 26. It was announced that ‘parliament’ would now launch the necessary procedures to ratify the decision.
  • The evacuation of hotel customers in accordance to a government decree ordering that all hotels suspend their services by March 21, in the framework of measures to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak, is continuing smoothly, two hotel associations Pasyxe and Stek told the Cyprus News Agnecy (CNA) on Tuesday. In statements to CNA, Pasyxe General Manager Zacharias Ioannides said that the process of evacuating the hotels is continuing based on the number of customers each hotel is accommodating to abide by a decree issued by the government ordering that all hotels suspend their operations by March 21. The evacuation process is done in such a way so that customers staying in the hotels are not affected until their return to their countries is arranged while at the same time keeping in line with hygiene regulations and procedures foreseen for the safety and health of both customers and hotel staff, he underlined.

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