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Update – 19/05/2020

  • Only one person has tested positive for coronavirus for a second consecutive day after 1882 diagnostic tests raising the total number of cases in Cyprus to 918, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday. The case was found after 276 tests in public hospital labs. Dr Leontios Kostrikis said that the “close to zero numbers reward our collective effort as a country in the last two months.”
  • According to the Health Ministry’s latest infographics, as of May 17, 56.3% of all Coronavirus patients in Cyprus have recovered. The figures also show that 32 patients were admitted in ICUs (3.5% of the total) and that 9,984 tests are conducted per 100,000 people.
  • The government has decided to withdraw a bill that would have provided state guarantees for bank loans as the amendments propose parties change its philosophy and render it impossible to enforce, Finance Minister Costas Petrides said. Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the Council of Ministers, Petrides said that from the first day there had been extensive consultations with political parties and the government had accepted a number of amendments despite its reservations. But he said the new amendments render the bill impossible to enforce. He assured employees and the business world that the government will continue to support them with all means at its disposal and will next week announce policies and measures as part of a comprehensive support framework.
  • Only 19 people were booked overnight for breaking the lockdown after 2,273 police checks from 6 pm on Monday to 6 am on Tuesday. Police also carried out 911 checks on premises and booked four for violations of the decree to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
  • Inspectors checked 59 construction sites on Tuesday for compliance to Coronavirus measures and said they found an “improved level of compliance in relation to previous days,” but one site in Famagusta was shut down as it did not have the necessary washing and hygiene facilities. In an announcement, the Labour Inspection Department said that it also checked 439 retail businesses and found “a very satisfactory level of compliance.”
  • The 8998 SMS service ends on Thursday, two months and thousands of fines later. The system is to be ‘retired’ as restrictions on movement are scrapped with phase two of the relaxation of the lockdown. This comes as relief to the public and probably also to police who have carried out thousands of checks and issued thousands of fines since the system was introduced in March. Figures published by CNA on Tuesday show that overall, police carried out 894,654 checks on pedestrians, drivers and premises regarding compliance with the lockdown decree  and booked 11,643. The vast majority were on pedestrians and drivers — nearly 750,000 checks and more than 11,000 booked. Of these 779 have submitted a complaint that they were unfairly fined. A special committee has so far examined 550 complaints. Of these 200 were found to be justified  and a letter has been been sent to the attorney general recommending he suspend the fine. According to figures published by CNA on Tuesday, Nicosia recorded the biggest number of checks, but Limassol had the largest number of violations.
  • Cyprus will be ready reopen its doors to tourists from June 15 once the protocols for tourism are implemented, the Chairman of the House commerce committee said on Tuesday. Cyprus hopes to recoup around 30 per cent of last year’s arrival numbers. Committee chairman, Andreas Kyprianou, was speaking after a teleconference meeting with Deputy Minister for Tourism Savvas Perdios. Kyprianou reiterated what Perdios said on Monday that the government’s goal was to see at least 30 per cent of the 2019 arrival figures. Last year, around 4 million tourists visited the country with the total revenue estimated at €2.6 billion. Kyprianou and Perdios confirmed that the target was to bring in at least one million tourists and around €800 million in revenue by the end of the year.
  • Within a few weeks, distance education has become possible for the first time in Cyprus and we will keep it, Minister of Education Prodromos Prodromou has said. Prodromou stressed that distance education will soon be enshrined in law by the government. In his statements on the sidelines of his visit to a High School in Nicosia, where a random sampling for COVID-19 was carried out, the Minister of Education said that progress and steps forward were always difficult, adding that “it is difficult for everyone to accept distance eduction, however, we should not stop but we should take advantage of this opportunity earned by teachers and students”. He made it clear that personal data would be protected and and precautionary measures will be taken.
  • A recent poll found that 77 per cent of the people trust scientists over the government, which scraped only 9 per cent of the vote. The poll, published by daily Politis last week, found that 79 per cent of respondents said they agreed with the government measures against the spread of coronavirus. The same poll found that only 4 per cent were dissatisfied with the way the scientific advisory committee has carried out its duties. The poll was conducted between May 13-14 and had 2155 respondents. On a more positive note, 52 per cent said that the health system was ready for the pandemic, while 42 per cent said it was not. As for the schools reopening however, public opinion opposed government measures with 52 per cent saying they disagreed with the policy.

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