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Update – 18/03/2020

  • The government on Tuesday announced flights from 28 countries will be banned as of 3am on Saturday as a part of ramped up measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. Health minister Constantinos Ioannou announced the measures after a marathon meeting that lasted much of Tuesday with President Nicos Anastasiades, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos and others. The only flights allowed to Cyprus will be cargo flights for a period of 14 days. These measures will be reassessed after two weeks.
  • Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos stressed that the government would strictly enforce these bans and said that “no one should dare try to board a plane unless they have the certificates needed”.
  • According to the minister, the measures announced on Sunday and lasting until April 30 requiring passengers to have a health certificate no more than four days old will remain in place until Saturday, after which entrance will be blocked. Ioannou added ahead of the Saturday deadline, people who travelled for health reasons, short professional trips or are under the terms of the Vienna conventio, will be allowed to present a note from a Cypriot diplomatic mission describing the nature of their travel in order to return. People accompanying individuals who travelled for health reasons will also be allowed entrance to the country, the minister said. People arriving before Saturday will still need to got to a 14-day government quarantine facility, except for people travelling for medical reasons, who will remain in self-isolation to continue their therapy.
  • The ban will be imposed on flights from the United Kingdom, Greece, Russia, Germany, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Egypt, Estonia, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Jordan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine.
  • Another three patients have tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the Republic of Cyprus to 49. In an announcement on Tuesday afternoon, the Health Ministry said that it had been notified by the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics of three new confirmed cases. They are, two people who came into contact with a case which was confirmed a few days ago, one person who had returned from Belgium and was in self isolation at home and contacted the authorities after developing symptoms. The epidemiological monitoring unit has started tracing the contacts of the three new cases and will carry out tests, the ministry added. The ministry said there are now 49 confirmed cases of which 27 are from contact with others who had tested positive.
  • The number of COVID-19 cases in the north has risen to 20 after 13 more German tourists tested positive. The results were announced late Tuesday. The 13 were found positive after retesting, having previously been found negative. They were part of the same group of 39 who had contact with the initial patient, a 65-year-old woman. The tourists had been quarantined in a hotel since she tested positive last week. New tests on the 39 showed that 13 had been infected. Out of the 20 cases in the north so far, 18 are German and two are Turkish Cypriot. The government-controlled areas announced three new cases on Tuesday bringing the total to 49, 27 of which had contact with other confirmed cases.
  • Following its announcement on Sunday setting the allowed capacity of vehicles transferring passengers as part of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Transport Ministry said on Tuesday that allowed capacity of public and private buses and shuttle services, including companies transferring passengers to/from the airports and urban, rural and intercity services, should not exceed 30% of their capacity. It also said that any regular journeys of companies conducting routes on a ticket per passenger basis on Sundays are suspended as of March 22 (inclusive). The above measures are effective immediately.
  • Kedipes, the state’s asset management company is suspending foreclosures for three months, Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides said on Twitter Wednesday. The move should give some breathing space as the state, business and the public scramble to deal with the fallout from the COVID-19 epidemic. Kedipes was established following the collapse of the Co-operative Bank of Cyprus.
  • The Head of Higher Education at the Ministry of Education Terpsa Constantinidou told the CNA on Wednesday that the electronic platform through which students who chose to stay abroad during Easter can apply for their €750 allowance will be ready tomorrow or Friday at the latest. The provision of the allowance was decided by the council of ministers as part of measures enforced to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Constantinidou said that the platform is currently being tested aiming to launch it by Friday.
  • Deputy Minister of Tourism Savvas Perdios has issued a call to hoteliers to accommodate Cypriots to be repatriated in the coming days and will need to be quarantined for 14 days as part of the measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the CNA reports. Perdios said that a framework of collaboration with the ministry has already been circulated to hotel associations for the provision of services to the government, which stipulates that each guest is  to remain in their room and the hotel will provide them with services like three meals a day and fresh sheets and towels every four days to be deposited outside their door. “This is a critical moment for the country and hoteliers are called to respond,” he said.

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