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Update – 22/04/2020

  • 6 new cases of Covid-19 were announced on Wednesday by the ministry of health’s epidemiology team, and one more death. This brings the total number of cases on the island to 790. The death brings to 18 the total number of people who have died with coronavirus. Virologist Leontios Kostrikis said a total of 1,441 tests were processed on Wednesday. As part of ongoing tests of 20,000 people working in the private and public sector that come into contact with others, 11,318 tests were evaluated till today.
  • A comprehensive plan covering the first phase of restarting the economy will be submitted to the president next Tuesday, but no decision has yet been taken on which sectors of the economy this will involve and when lockdown measures will be relaxed. This was clarified by deputy government spokesman Panayiotis Sentonas today after the Health Ministry’s scientific advisory team briefed President Nicos Anastasiades and the ministerial committee on the coronavirus outbreak in Cyprus. With a downward trend in the number of new cases and hospital admissions, attention has shifted to when a lockdown which has paralysed the economy will be lifted. Experts have indicated that early May could see some easing, but are still waiting for additional data, particularly after the Easter weekend. According to Sentonas, during the meeting the scientific team had said they were satisfied with the results of the measures taken to contain the spread of coronavirus, with a steady decline in the number of positive cases. They also referred to those sectors of the economy that could restart in the first phase, provided the epidemiological situation permits it but warned against complacency which risked destroying the gains made. The team will present a comprehensive proposal on the first phase of restarting the economy and on easing the restrictions on movement to the president and the ministerial committee on Tuesday, April 28, he said. A decision will be taken by the Council of Ministers the following day.
  • According to Phileleftheros, the advisory committee of experts has already considered the basics of the road map.
    • The start will come in the beginning of May with the ending of the night curfew and the increase in the number of times one can leave the house — from the current one to two or three.
    • Around mid-May some businesses where employees do not come into contact with members of the public or where this can be managed will open, with priority going to building sites followed by hairdressers salons.
    • Shops selling clothes, shoes and toys and other commercial centres are expected to open at the start of summer with a controlled number of clients and by mid-June, the faithful will be able to go to church, again with controlled numbers.
    • During the same period, authorities will consider reopening airports for flights to countries that have the same or a better track record on handling the Covid-19 outbreak than Cyprus.
    • Experts are expected to suggest the resumption of training for sports teams in mid-May.
    • Sports events are expected to resume in June but without fans.
    • Building sites should be the first to get work as will businesses with a small number of employees or that can operate with appointments such as hairdressers, barbers, beauticians and car sales.
    • Restaurants, cafes and other catering establishments will be part of phase two, again with restrictions while cinemas, theatres and malls will reopen at a later stage.
  • Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios said on Wednesday that he hoped the sector can resume operations by July but warned protective measures would have to remain in place as long as the coronavirus was around. Perdios said that they were now listening to the views of interested parties as regards the operation of hotels, restaurants and beaches. “It will be a different operation in relation to other years,” he said. “The basis will be the number of people the health ministry will allow in the same space.” Hoteliers, restaurateurs and others would have to control how many people use the dining room at the same time or the beach, the distance between them and so on.
  • The Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday that a fourth batch of medical supplies and consumables from China arrived last night at Larnaca Airport. Part of the 7-tonne cargo is a donation, the Ministry said, namely 140 patient monitors for the Intensive Care Units. The new shipment also contains surgical masks, swabs for sample collection and full-body protective suits, all of which will be imminently delivered to healthcare professionals for use.
  • The Labour Ministry said that special unemployment allowance was paid today to some 7500 beneficiaries after discrepancies, mostly relating to their bank accounts, were settled. It added that the ministry had today also contacted 412 employers who have submitted applications for the partial or total suspension of their businesses’ operation for payment of the special unemployment allowance to their employees to correct their applications. Officials had spoken by telephone to all 412 employers whose applications had not been processed because of discrepancies and they were asked to contact their employees so that they can submit new applications. Once these applications are submitted, the special unemployment allowance will be paid immediately to about 5550 employees working at these businesses. Employers were asked to notify their employees about the problem. The ministry said that payment of the special allowance will continue over the next few days.
  • Cyprus’ embattled ‘golden passport’ programme has come in for a fresh round of criticism from the EU, but the government has rebutted their demands. A request from the EU Commission was sent to member states on April 1 calling for the phasing out of such programmes. There is no intention of ending the programme, Interior Minister Nicos Nouris was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
  • Police booked 70 drivers and pedestrians overnight after carrying out 4499 checks on compliance with the stay at home decree.

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