The number of positive coronavirus cases in Cyprus edged down to five, one less than yesterday, after 2322 tests the Health Ministry said on Thursday. This brings the total in Cyprus to 795, including 10 in the British Bases. Leontios Kostrikis said the low number of positive cases, particularly after such a high number of tests, showed that the worst case scenario had been definitively avoided.
The strategy the goverment is working on aiming at the gradual lifting of the restrictive measures and the restart of the economy, will be based on the epidemiological data, the recommendations of the scientific committee, the systematic monitoring through random checks and the potential of taking and maintaining of safety measures, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades stressed during the meeting of the political party leaders on Thursday. According to a written statement by Government Spokesman Kyriakos Koushos, during the meeting, that took place at the Presidential Palace, in the presence of the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance and the Minister of Health, President Anastasiades briefed the political party leaders about the current situation as regards the management of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the strategy drafted by the Government for the gradual lifting of the restrictive measures and for the restart of the economy. The President of the Republic underlined that the strategy will be depended on the epidemiological data, the recommendations of the scientific committee, the systematic monitoring through random checks and the potential of taking and maintaining of safety measures, the Spokesman added. He went on to say that the political party leaders submitted views and proposals. An exchange of views took place on the issues related to the lifting of the restrictive mesures and the restart of the economy. The President expressed his thanks to the political parties for their cooperation in the framework of the Government`s efforts to address the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Spokesman concluded.
The cabinet on Thursday approved a series of additional measures to support workers stricken by the coronavirus fallout, also extending existing schemes to include new categories of economic activity that had been previously exempted. Now Included in the schemes are individuals over 65 who do not work and who do not receive a pension. People whose normal unemployment benefits have run out will be included in the special schemes to be granted a special unemployment allowance between April 13 and June 12. New categories will be included from April 13 to June 12. They concern certain insurance agents whose income depends on new contracts, physiotherapists, vets, dental technicians, and certain medical specialties whose livelihood has been affected by the pandemic. The cabinet decided that all workers will be subsidised irrespective of whether they are general managers directors, or shareholders in small businesses of up to nine staff. A special plan will be applied for people who first started working in February and March 2020 provided they will be declared by their employers. The special unemployment and special sickness benefits will take into account the insurable earnings of 2018 compared with the declared salary of January 2020 so that the highest amount resulting from the comparison is paid. A minimum amount will be set as special unemployment and special sickness allowance. The arrangements aim at supporting workers during the crisis and would continue to be in effect until June 12, 2020. Any allowances are calculated based on salaries declared to the social insurance fund.
Cyprus is close to reaching its target of containing the coronavirus but is not yet there, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said on Thursday. In a statement on Twitter, Ioannou said: “Day by day we are reaching our goal of containing the (coronavirus) cases. However, we have not yet reached the end.” The Republic has so far recorded 790 cases but results in recent days seem to show that strict restrictions placed on the population appear to be working as the daily tally of new cases dropped. The government was not focusing on a strategy of restarting the economy, which has been effectively shut down for the past two months. Any move towards that direction would depend on the epidemiological data of the coming days.
Random coronavirus testing will be carried out among Cyprus’ population, the health ministry announced on Thursday. In total, 800 samples will be taken between Friday and next Tuesday. “The aim of the testing is to assess the percentage of people across Cyprus with active infection, but also to compare the rate of active infection between age groups and areas across the country,” the health ministry said. The choice of individuals was done by district and age group. Authorities are already notifying those chosen for the testing.
There will be 13 repatriation flights from the UK and Greece over the next five days, Transport Minister Yiannos Karousos said on Thursday. The government is planning to repatriate about 1000 Cypriots and legal residents every week. The minister has earlier said he was confident that all those who had asked to be repatriated between April 15 and 30 will make it home. Karousos said flights will be carried from London, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh, Thessaloniki and Athens. Flights are being added every day, the minister concluded.
As part of the ongoing campaign to implement restrictive measures against the spread of the coronavirus, police inspected 576 premises and checked 4,110 people during 12 hours from 6pm on Wednesday evening until 6am Thursday. A total of 96 motorists and pedestrians did not carry the required permit to be outside their homes and were booked. Most of them, 56, were booked in Limassol, while 23 were caught in Nicosia, eight in Larnaca, three in Paphos and two in the Famagusta district. Another four were booked by the emergency response unit of police. 49 premises were inspected in Nicosia, 23 in Limassol, 28 in Larnaca, 250 in Paphos, 76 in Famagusta and 150 in the Morphou area. None of them were found to have violated the decree.
More than half a million checks were completed by Police in the framework of enforcing the government’s decrees on Covid-19. According to police data published by Phileleftheros on Thursday, since the beginning of restrictive measures and until yesterday, a total of 505,700 checks were conducted to pedestrians, drivers and business owners across the island. Of those, 7,309 were booked for decree violations as follows: 316 booked out of 89,311 checks in businesses / 6,993 booked of 416,389 checks of pedestrians and drivers. The majority of checks and fines were in Nicosia, Limassol and Famagusta in this order. Police said that the majority of those booked are drivers who hadn’t obtained an SMS before leaving the house and those spotted in a location unrelated to the reason they requested permission for. They mentioned the case of one person who was booked five times for violating the stay at home decree.
Police on Thursday morning launched a coordinated operation at the Nicosia to Limassol motorway near the entrance of the capital to check whether drivers were adhering to the restrictive measures against the spread of the coronavirus. “The implementation of the measures concerns, above all, public health, and therefore, full compliance with protection measures, in order to limit the spread of the virus to the maximum extent possible, is absolutely imperative,” police said in an announcement. Police said that the fight to curb the spread of the virus begins with each and every person individually. “As we are dependent on each other, we have a responsibility to protect each other,” it added.