One person died from Covid-19 at Nicosia Hospital, a man aged 69 years with underlying health conditions, the Health Ministry announced on Friday. This brings the total number of fatalities to 19, 14 of whom had Covid-19 as the final cause of death. The 14 are 10 men and 4 women with average age 70 years. The number of positive cases edged up to nine, four more than yesterday. This brings the total in Cyprus to 804, including 10 in the British Bases. Commenting on the new results, Dr Leontios Kostrikis repeated that results allow for optimism but urged the public to continue to adhere to measures as the situation is fragile. From the 20,000 tests since April 11, a total of 13553 have been completed.
The government said on Friday that it will pay for another 2000 coronavirus tests among employees working in the food supply sector and in old peoples’ homes, with the primary objective of helping small companies. Under the April 15 decree, all employees working in food and drink supply business must be tested by April 28 and the government has said the cost must be covered by the employer. Some have benefited from the free testing programme for 20,000 public and private sector employees who come into contact with the public. Of the 20,000, authorities had allotted 6000 to the food supply sector and these were swiftly exhausted.
Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said that we can expect all restriction measures enforced amid the coronavirus outbreak to be lifted within two or three months, but stressed that until a vaccine is found we should learn to live with the risks posed by coronavirus. Ioannou said that decisions have yet to be taken on when the gradual loosening of measures will begin, neither regarding which businesses will be allowed to resume operations as normal first. “Everything will happen in stages. What I can tell you is that as a general rule, businesses or sectors of the economy which involve interaction with the public will be the last to open. The greater the level of contact a business has with the public, the later it will be allowed to resume operations,” Ioannou said.
President Nicos Anastasiades reaffirmed the government’s determination for the protection and strengthening of the health system and gave instructions for the implementation of specific actions, deputy government spokesman Panayiotis Sentonas said on Friday after a meeting with state doctors’ and nurses’ union and their employer, Okypy. Speaking at the Presidential Palace after the meeting between Anastasiades and the representatives of state health professionals but also of the state health services organisation Okypy, Sentonas said that the president was briefed about the current situation in public hospitals and the existing problems. Present at the meeting were also the health minister and the health ministry’s permanent secretary.
The minimum amount to be paid out as a special allowance under the government’s support schemes during the coronavirus lockdown has been set at €360. Allowances are paid as special unemployment benefit for those working at businesses which have been closed down by the decrees or have seen a drop in turnover, for parents looking after their children because schools are closed and vulnerable groups who cannot go to work. There is a separate scheme for the self-employed. The €360 minimum per month corresponds to the minimum pension. The maximum is set at €1,214. For the self employed the minimum is €300 and the maximum €900. The minimum and maximum rates are included in the 10 corrective measures approved by the Council of Ministers yesterday.
Cyprus` Ministry of Health has announced that a fifth batch of medical consumables from China arrived in Cyprus on Thursday evening. The cargo was on board an Aegean flight fuelled by Hellenic Petroleum. “This flight was the fifth in a row offered by the two companies, contributing in this way in the Republic of Cyprus` efforts to secure sufficient equipment necessary to manage the coronavirus pandemic,” a Health Ministry press release says. The fifth batch from China, it adds, includes high protection masks, swaps for collecting samples for testing, shoe covers, which will be distributed in the State Health Services Organisation`s hospitals according to their needs. Part of the consumables which arrived constitutes a donation of the Embassy of China in Cyprus, the Ministry of Health says, expressing its “warmest thanks.”
Cyprus has extended its ban on passenger flights to May 17. In an announcement on Friday, the Transport Ministry said the decision was taken by the Council of Ministers yesterday. It said that the amended decree of April 18 which prohibited passenger flights until April 30 was now being extended to Sunday, May 17. However, the Transport Ministry has the right to allow rescue flights to repatriate Cypriots stranded abroad. A number of repatriation flights are planned over the next few days.
The Health Ministry announced on Thursday evening the reopening of outpatient clinics in public and private hospitals as of Monday April 27. A provision concerning the prohibition of visits for non urgent incidents has been removed from the relevant decree, effectively allowing outpatient clinics to hold appointments for such cases. It was also clarified that as per the decree, scheduled surgeries are suspended for patients whose health condition does not pose a threat to their life.
As the result of 3,600 police checks 65 drivers and pedestrians were booked for violating the decree on movements during 12 hours from Thursday afternoon until Friday morning. According to a police announcement, 1,263 checks were made in Nicosia from 6pm until 6am, 1,188 in Limassol, 447 in Larnaca, 108 in Paphos, 175 in the Famagusta region and 167 in the Morphou district. In addition, 211 inspections were carried out by traffic police and 41 by the response unit of police (MMAD). Eight premises out of the 826 which were inspected during the night violated the ban and were booked.