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Update – 17/04/2020

  • The health ministry on Friday announced 15 new cases of coronavirus bringing the total to 750 as authorities prepared to ramp up security measures over the Easter weekend. Virologist Leontios Kostrikis said the picture that was emerging was satisfactory and that things were heading in the right direction. He added the 15 new cases came from a total of 3,241 tests. Four cases were found among the 20,000 tests conducted on workers in the public and private sector, of which a total of 1,723 were processed on Friday.  Another three were found among contacts of other previously confirmed cases, two were found from a total of 162 tests conducted at the state hospitals, and the remaining six were from state health organisation, Okypy, staff.
  • Turkish Cypriot authorities said on Friday that another three people have tested positive for coronavirus bringing the total there to 108. One is a teacher who was making masks, the second a health care professions and third an individual who have come from Turkey on March 5.
  • The Cyprus government has announced the launch of a special website (www.covid19.cy)  where the decisions of the government aiming to limit the spread of the coronavirus, the decrees with the relevant restrictive provisions that have been issued and the instructions for movement by exception, will be posted so that people will be fully updated on efforts to address the coronavirus pandemic.
  • With the number of coronavirus cases stabilising, all eyes now are on the lockdown exit strategy that will allow a gradual return to normal life. President Nicos Anastasiades has warned that even though the Council of Ministers has decided on the strategy for the gradual relaxation of the measures, no decision has been taken on the date. Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides has indicated that the first relaxation measures could come in early May. But he has stressed that all depends on the coronvirus situation and adherence to the measures, with the first crucial test the Easter weekend. The president will be briefing political party leaders on the issue on Thursday. The day before the scientific team on the coronavirus outbreak and ministerial committee will convene at the Presidential Palace. In a report last night, Alpha TV said that the night curfew may be lifted at the start of May and people allowed two ‘exits by exception’ from the house. As Phileleftheros reports, the lockdown exit road map aims at a step by step approach to gradually restart the economy — always subject to the epidemiological situation. Construction is seen as one of the sectors that is expected to resume first, thereby getting an important sector back to work and gradually easing the need for the state to provide allowances for workers. Hairdresser salons and barbers are also said to be among the first. A key question is the reopening of retail shops, starting with those that have a low number of shoppers before it is the turn of malls. One idea being considered is to impose the same restrictions that currently apply in supermarkets with a maximum number of people per square metres. There are questions also as regards gyms, catering establishments and cultural venues as well as cinemas and museums. According to philenews, restaurants and cafes may be asked to have half the number of tables.
  • Larnaca police last night booked ten people found attending a Good Thursday church service, in violation of the lockdown and despite repeated calls from authorities as well as the Archbishop to stay home. Decrees enacted to prevent the spread of coronavirus specifically prohibit the faithful from attending church services. Only yesterday evening President Nicos Anastasiades appealed to everyone to comply with the decrees. “Do not listen to the dissidents who identify faith in God with the choice of death. Listen to the prudent voices of the Ecumenical Patriarch and of the Head of the Church of Cyprus. Today, our faith is not in danger; the health of the faithful is,” he said in a televised address. The ten members of the congregation were among a total of 68 people fined for breaking the stay at home decree overnight. Overall police carried out 5233 checks in all the districts from 6 pm on Thursday to 6 am on Friday. Police have warned they plan to step up checks over the Easter weekend.
  • China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has expressed China’s readiness to continue and further strengthen its help to Cyprus in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, in a telephone conversation with Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides. According to a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, during the telephone conversation, Christodoulides and Yi exchanged views on Covid-19 pandemic in the two countries, as well as on the spread and the effects of the disease worldwide. Christodoulides expressed his gratitude on behalf of the Republic of Cyprus for China’s significant assistance in dealing with the pandemic, while on his part, Yi reiterated China’s readiness to continue and further strengthen assistance to Cyprus, as well as Beijing’s readiness to share with the competent Cypriot authorities the experiences of Chinese doctors regarding the best practices for the complete treatment of the pandemic.
  • The third batch of equipment from China, a total of seven tonnes, arrived in Cyprus on Thursday evening. According to a statement by the health ministry, the new delivery includes masks, swabs for testing and protective uniforms which will be distributed to health professionals. Part of the equipment has been donated by the Chinese government.
  • The Health Ministry has acted on a new decree that allows it ‘for reasons of public health’ to publish the names of businesses where workers have been found positive to the virus by announcing yesterday that cases were found in Paphos at a Bank of Cyprus branch and the local office of the Lands and Surveys Department.
  • The Republic of Cyprus raised € 1.25 billion from the issue of 52-week treasury bills through private placement, with an annual yield of 0.50%. “The purpose of this issue is to further strengthen the public liquidity reserves,” Minister of Finance, Constantinos Petrides, said in a written statement. He added that a total of about €1.32 billion in bids were received, and €1.25 billion were accepted, as was the original goal. He also noted that eight banking institutions participated in the process.

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