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Update – 30/04/2020

  • The Health Ministry’s expert scientists announced on Thursday 7 new cases of coronavirus, one more from the six reported yesterday, out of a total of 2454 diagnostic tests, raising the total number to 850 (including 10 in the British Bases). Dr Leontios Kostrikis said that today’s numbers preserve the picture that allowed the easing of restrictive measures. He said that this period will be more difficult in the sense that we need to be more careful
  • The latest report on Covid-19 by the Health Ministry’s Epidemiological Surveillance Unit with data up to April 28 reveals that 35.4% of people who tested positive to the virus in Cyprus have recovered. In addition, 19.6% of cases received hospital care, of which 70.7% were discharged alive from the hospital (116 people). The report also found that 53,120 tests were performed until April 28.
  • Airports will reopen during part three of the lockout exit strategy, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said on Thursday. He was speaking at a press conference on the government’s lockdown exit strategy which starts with partial easing of the measures on May 4. President Nicos  Anastasiades announced the first two stages during his televised address last night. He said that during phase three (June 9 to July 7) the following will reopen: Airports and ports, Malls, Indoor catering venues, Gyms, Outdoor theatres and cinemas, Sports tournaments. In phase four from July 14 indoor theatres cinemas and children’s play areas will reopen. The minister said that businesses that reopen on Monday must comply with specific hygiene and distancing rules to prevent a spike in coronavirus cases. The construction sector and associated businesses resume work on May 4, as do retail shops with the exception of malls and department stores. Open air markets and travel agents are also part of the first stage of the easing of the lockdown. He said that companies must implement the rule of eight metres for every employee, compulsory availability of antiseptic and cleaning of surfaces. Employees who come into contact with the public in the private and public sector must wear masks. For the general public the use of masks is recommended but not mandatory.
  • The Ministry of Labor has prepared instructions for both businesses and employees, to be implemented during the reopening of businesses, the Minister of Labor, Welfare and Social Insurance Zeta Εmilianidou said during a press conference to explain the gradual lifting the restrictive measures due to COVID-19. Emilianidou said that the Ministry, after listening to the social partners, issued specific guidelines which can be found on the website of the Department of Labor Inspection, including all the guidelines that businesses must follow to protect their employees and to ensure health and safety amid COVID-19 conditions. In addition, she said, a brochure has been issued to give employees simple advices on the protection measures they should follow. This brochure will be published in 10,000 copies and has been translated into five languages. A guide has been issued for the 25,000 retail stores to be inspected concerning measures to be followed. As the Minister said, a team has been set up by the Department of Labor Inspection and other government departments, which will begin training tomorrow to be able to inspect compliance with these measures. “The most important thing is to adhere to these safety and health measures, not just the general ones that have always been in force, but the specific ones that deal with coronavirus conditions,” she said. She added that in case the companies don’t comply with these measures there will be a fine according to the law and the decrees of the Ministry of Health. “Our goal is to inspect all these construction sites and retail stores, so that we can make sure that the measures are followed,” she said.
  • The gradual relaxation of containment measures aims to kickstart economic recovery in the fourth quarter of 2020 followed by a peak in GDP growth in 2021, Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides said on Friday, noting the second phase is considered more dangerous and people should be alert to avoid backward steps. Finance Minister, along with Ministers of Health and Labour analysed the road map for the gradual lifting of lockdown measures taken by the authorities to curb the spread of coronavirus outbreak. “Our aim is to proceed with recovery because without the economy (recovering) there will be no public Health system, there will be no income,” Petrides said during a press conference and added “if there is compliance in this second, more dangerous phase that needs increased discipline we perhaps need to be more alert, then the economy will may to recover in the fourth quarter and will peak in 2021.” He said the road map containing four stages, is based on a comprehensive strategy made after consultations with the social partners and increased evaluation of the epidemiological data and various economic indicators, while the gradual lifting of containment measures in various sectors was made after evaluating certain indicators such as GDP contribution, employment, contribution to state revenue, infection risks as well as capacity to work from home. Petrides also referred the sectors among the first to reopen in the first phase of relaxation of containment measures. According to Petrides, the sector of retail trade is very important with a contribution in added value terms of over €1 billion, employment of 38,000 persons or 9.4% of jobs in Cyprus with a contribution of 12% in state revenue. Noting that the sector will have a gradual operation, Petrides added that this retail trade is very important to the economy. On constructions, Petrides said the sector’s contribution in value added terms is 5% with employment of 30,000 persons corresponding to 7.5% of total employment in Cyprus and a contribution of over 16% in state revenue.  
  • Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou announced on Thursday the details for those final year pupils in public lyceums and technical schools as well as final year pupils of private schools who will return to classrooms on May 11. He said the return to school of final year pupils affects 5635 youth in public schools and 1483 in private. “Our priority is to adhere to protocols to ensure the health of the children and educators and to smoothly complete the year for final year pupils. Our goal is for the Apolyterion of this generation to be fully reliable,” the Minister said. Prodromou said that for the pupils going back to school on May 11 there will be a maximum of 12 pupils per classroom and on the first day of their return, they will be informed of the protocol to be followed for Coronavirus in their school, which will also be communicated to their parents / guardians. He also advised pupils and parents to inform their school’s management if a pupil belongs to a vulnerable group so that the school can make special arrangements for them as they will be unable to go back to school. For those students not returning to school, remote learning will continue. Decisions for the remaining children will be announced in the coming days, Prodromou said. “Public schools, primary schools and kindergartens will reopen as soon as possible. It’s likely that some classes of primary school will be transferred to different schools to keep the number of pupils per classroom small. Private learning institutes, dance schools and other programmes will also be able to open soon,” he added.
  • Use of masks by the general public is recommended but not compulsory, the Health Ministry has clarified. However, employees working in transport and businesses and departments that come into contact with the public must wear masks. In an official announcement, the Health Ministry said that within the framework of personal protection and public health measures, the use of masks complements and does not replace other measures such as social distancing, hand washing, cleaning of surfaces and ventilation of living and work areas. The use of masks by the general population is recommended but is not compulsory in heavily frequented and indoor areas such as  supermarkets, department stores, pharmacies, banks, departments in the wider public sector which serve the public, mass transport etc.
  • Cyprus Police has carried out approximately 5,500 checks for the implementation of containment measures against the spread of Covid-19, in the last 12 hours ending this morning and reposted 81 violations. A spokesman for the Police, told CNA that from 18:00 yesterday until 06:00 Friday, the force carried out 745 checks for shops with two reports for violations and 4,727 for shops reporting 79 violations. Concerning shops, the Police made 217 checks in Nicosia District, 119 in Limassol, 113 in Larnaca reporting 1 violation, 192 in Pafos, 63 in Famagusta and 51 in the region of Morphou reporting 1 violation. With regard to movement, in the last twelve hours, the Police carried out 1,576 checks in Nicosia with 12 violations reported, 826 in Limassol with 19 violations, 586 in Larnaca reporting 12 violations,927 in Pafos with 17 violations, 221 in Famagusta reporting 5 violations, 160 in Morphou region with 4 violations. Furthermore, the Nicosia Traffic Control Department carried out 402 check reporting 6 violations and the Emergency Report Unit (MMAD) made 29 checks reporting 4 violations.

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