One more person has died, a man aged 77 years, and another 16 people have tested positive for coronavirus, the Health Ministry said on Monday. The people who died so far are 6 men and a woman, five of them with underlying health conditions. This brings the total number of deaths to seven and the total number of confirmed cases to 230 (including five in the British Bases).
Another five people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the Turkish-held north. This brings the total there to 69.
Permission to leave the house will be limited to once a day and gatherings at houses will be restricted only to its residents, under new tough restrictions to contain the spread of Covid-19 that come into effect at 6 am on Tuesday. Only people who have document A (those who work and have the document signed by the employer) will be allowed to leave the house between 9 pm and 6 am. Everyone must secure permission by SMS and the signed forms (document B) can only be used by people aged over 65. The tougher lock-down was announced by Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou on Monday afternoon. They were decided at a meeting of the ministerial committee on Covid-19 that was chaired by President Nicos Anastasiades this morning. He said fines for violating the stay at home decree will double to €300 while supermarkets and other retail shops still allowed to operate will close on Sundays. The minister also announced new arrangements to allow students abroad who are considered vulnerable for health reasons and others who travelled abroad for medical reasons to return.
Earlier, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou published a picture on Facebook on Monday morning berating a group of people standing in a tight queue outside a bank in Paphos. “Today, 8.40am in Paphos. I was alerted by the mayor. We do not learn. We do not follow instructions. Less than two-metres distance, we are spreading the virus”. Ioannou on Sunday published another strong-worded post on Facebook, saying the large increase in new confirmed cases of Covid-19 was of particular concern after it was announced that the new death and 35 new cases were transmitted through a family environment by individuals who had not restricted themselves. “It is unfortunate that we find many cases of people who do not confine themselves and transmit the coronavirus without knowing it,” he said.
More than 288,000 approvals were given over the weekend to members of the public who sent out message requests to leave the house by exception, the Cyprus News Agency reports. Stringent stay at home rules are in force, but both the flood of text messages and the large number of people booked for flouting the decree shows a distinct lack of self-discipline among the public and may pave the way for tougher rules. The weekend figures were given as the ministerial committee on coronavirus met to review the situation. A total of 35 new cases were reported yesterday, the biggest jump so far. This brings the total to 214. Cyprus also records six deaths.
The Ministry of Labour has begun launching application procedures for its support measures for workers and businesses affected by Covid-19, with applications now open for thespecial sickness allowanceand the special leave for parents who have to stay at home.
The government issued an announcement on Monday providing its bank account details for donations towards efforts to combat Covid-19 following requests from the public. “Due to the generous requests of many of our compatriots, to contribute in our country΄s effort to meet the emerging needs, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Treasury of the Republic of Cyprus would like to provide the following information regarding the Government’s bank account to which all contributions can be deposited:
General Government Account
Central Bank of Cyprus
Account Number: 6001010
IBAN: CY16 0010 0001 0000 0000 0600 1010
Swift (BIC) Code: CBCYCY2N
Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said on Monday that the allowances of around 2,000 students trapped abroad will be paid for by a wealthy compatriot. Cypriot students banned from returning to the island for the Easter holidays because of fears they would spread the coronavirus have been able to apply for a 750-euro government grant since March 19, to cover their expenses in their country of study. In his statements on the Trito radio show, Christodoulides revealed that a compatriot, who has not been named but lives on the island, had offered to pay the students’ allowances currently at about 2,000 applications.
Private companies have shown great interest in wishing to donate to help in the battle against Covid-19, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEVE) said on Monday. Accordingly, KEVE has set up a bank account specifically for the donations it will receive to help fund private and public efforts in the battle against the disease. The bulk of funds will put towards personal protective equipment for health care workers who are on the front line, KEVE said on Monday. KEVE called on all other businesses that wish to donate to express their interest by calling 22-889710.
The government has called for the fast-track processing of citizenship by investment applications so as to give the Cyprus economy a boost, Phileleftheros reports. Despite the government’s recent decision to revoke the Cypriot citizenship from 29 foreign investors and the legal restrictions that have arisen, this provision was among the 27 state emergency measures taken to counter coronavirus’ financial consequences. Specifically, the government called for the examination process of applications for exceptional naturalization on the basis of the Cyprus Investment Program – in accordance with set provisions and criteria – to be speeded up. Even though the government argues that the island’s economy does not depend much on the controversial naturalization scheme, this specific decision shows that the state invests in this sector which mainly contributes to that of development.
One repatriation flight arrives tonight at Larnaca Airport from Athens carrying back 40 passengers, the CNA reports. The passengers had been stranded in Athens following measures to contain the spread of Covid-19. The Cyprus Airways flight is expected to land at Larnaca airport around 20:10 on Monday, an insider told CNA. Under the Ministry of Transport’s decree put in force on March 21, flights to Cyprus airports are banned for two weeks, except for cargo flights.