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Update – 18/05/2020

  • One new case of coronavirus were announced on Monday by the health ministry, bringing the total to 917. Earlier, the ministry reported a total of four people are being treated for the virus at Famagusta General, the reference hospital. One of the patients is in the advanced care unit. Doctors have said all the patients are in generally good condition.
  • President Nicos Anastasiades told opposition leaders on Monday that the government will not be making further changes to a state-backed borrowing scheme to help businesses and urged them not to make amendments themselves. Anastasiades on Monday met with party leaders to discuss the scheme, which has been hit by delays as opposition parties continue to make demands. “The president has said that the government has submitted its final proposal to parliament and asked for no further amendments that either alter the character, the philosophy of the scheme, or render it completely unenforceable,” Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides said afterwards. The minister said the House finance committee will convene in the afternoon to discuss the scheme anew “and we hope we eventually have a conclusion according to the president’s suggestions.”
  • Labour inspectors continued checks for decree compliance in retail businesses and construction sites over the weekend and on Monday and closed one construction site in Famagusta and fined one construction worker at a Nicosia building site. On the weekend and Monday, inspectors checked a total of 103 constructions sites across the island. Compliance at these sites was fair, but some did not have the necessary washing and hygiene facilities. The inspectors also carried out 644 checks of shops where they found a very satisfactory level of compliance.
  • 32,000 more people will go back to work this month within the framework of the gradual return to normality for the economy. As of May 21, phase two of the easing of lockdown measures begins and SMS movement permission ends allowing citizens to move freely. Phase two of the easing is scheduled to last until June 8 and based on test results so far there are not expected to be any obstructions to the planned easing of the measures. In practice, this means that more than 32,000 workers will gradually go back to work, starting with around 5,500 staff at hair and beauty salons and 25,500 staff at restaurants due to restart work this Thursday. On June 1, betting shops are scheduled to open with 1,337 more staff returning to their posts at 548 businesses.
  • In particular:
    • As of May 21
      • Reopening of parks, open-air playgrounds, squares, marinas etc but there should be no more than 10 people gathered
      • Reopening of catering businesses outside only while adhering to strict protocols by the Health and Labour Ministries
      • Reopening of hair salons, barbershops, beauty salons
    • As of June 1
      • Operation and access to organised beaches
      • Full operation of ports, except disembarkation of passengers from cruise ships
      • Reopening of libraries, museums, archaeological and historical premises
      • Reopening of betting shops
      • Religious worship resumes at churches, mosques and other religious spaces, given strict adherence to MoH protocols
  • The first easing of measures took place on May 4, when around 70,000 private sector employees went back to work at 18,000 businesses in the retail and construction sector. If all goes well with new Coronavirus cases, Phase Three of the lockdown easing will begin on June 9 and is scheduled to last until July 13. It involves the reopening of malls and department stores, airports and airline companies (gradually and under conditions), ports (including servicing cruise ships), restaurant services (indoors and outdoors), hotels, open-air theatres and cinemas, gyms and other.
  • More than 7,500 people were repatriated to Cyprus in less than two months, Cyprus Foreign Ministry Spokesman Demetris Samuel says. In a message posted on twitter, Samuel refers to a flight from Frankfurt, which was expected to land at Larnaca airport in the early hours of Monday. He says that once the plane lands, the number of people repatriated to Cyprus – under the particular conditions prevailing – will surpass 7,500 in less than two months. Last Saturday, another repatriation flight took off from Domodedovo airport, Moscow, bringing back 122 Cypriots and other legal residents in the Republic of Cyprus. The Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus to Russia notes in a message, posted on social media, that so far, 264 people have been repatriated as a result of the coordinated efforts of the Embassy and the General Consulates of the Republic of Cyprus in the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus and the Crisis Management Center of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Cypriot Deputy Minister of Tourism Savvas Perdios holds intensive consultations with the country’s tourism partners abroad, aiming to form a complete picture on how the island’s tourism industry will work by the end of May. As Perdios told CNA, during the next two weeks, he will hold consultations with travel organizers and airlines. The consultations will take place in the presence of both the Ministry of Transport and the Cyprus’ airports management company Hermes. “The effort”, he said, “is to ensure connectivity with as many countries as possible in a very difficult situation”. Even though general consultations took place three weeks ago, at this stage, according to the Deputy Minister, they can say more specific things and inform that Cyprus is doing well, regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, and will soon be open for scheduled flights and tourism. Contacts are also being made with travel agencies from countries that are not the traditional tourist markets for Cyprus such as Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Greece, Israel and Denmark. These countries are expected to open earlier than traditional tourist markets such as Britain, Russia and Sweden. However, although the traditional markets would most probably open later, the Deputy Ministry is also discussing with tourism partners in these countries, aiming to attract tourist at the end of the summer season and even in winter.
  • Police carried out 4,457 checks on pedestrians and motorists from Sunday evening until Monday morning and booked 95 of them for violating the ban on movements. During the same 12 hours, from 6pm until 6am, a total of 970 premises were inspected but none were booked. In Nicosia, 29 people were booked, in Limassol 41, in Paphos 15 and in Famagusta five. Nobody was found to have violated the decree in Larnaca or the Morphou district. Traffic police recorded an additional five people.

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