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Update 30/06/2020

  • Two more people have tested positive to Covid-19, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday, of whom one has a travel history. The two new cases, found after 1320 tests, are:
    • One from tracing of contacts of already confirmed cases (29 tests today). The Health Ministry said that it is a contact of yesterday’s case who arrived from the United States.
    • One from private initiative (358 tests today). The Health Ministry said that the person is a Cypriot with a travel history who was asymptomatic and took the test at his own initiative. He arrived in Cyprus on June 26 from a Category A country.
  • Cyprus will follow the same three-pronged strategy for the recovery of the local economy that was adopted after the financial crisis of 2013, Finance Minister Costantinos Petrides said on Tuesday. Speaking in the 10th Nicosia Economic Congress on Tuesday, Petrides along with a number of experts, offered his predictions for the future of local economy in the post-Covid-19 era. “We need to fix the roof while the sun is shining,” he noted. He said that the first prong of the strategy is the creation of surpluses. Not just for government, but also for businesses and households. In this way, we can address future economic crises without building up a burden of debt for our children. The second prong is to promote structural reforms to increase the competitiveness of the private economy in international markets and to create new employment opportunities. Part of this reform is the creation of the Union of Municipalities, under discussion in the Cyprus Parliament. The third prong is to correct the mistakes of the past: By managing the large number of non-performing loans (NPLs), for example, which was a decisive factor in recovery from the 2013 financial crisis. This year, the minister said, would be decisive in managing NPLs. Petrides noted the unexpected pandemic crisis has led to a greater economic crisis than the great depression of 1929 on a world-wide level.
  • While in different times April marked the beginning of the summer season, this year it was pushed back by three months as the Coronavirus pandemic has destabilised the tourism sector in Cyprus as well as globally. One after another, countries have been announcing the reopening of their borders whilst publishing their procedures for welcoming tourists. Cyprus opened its airports 10 days prior to Greece and is gearing up for the coming months. July marks the start of tourism engines, while this year air carriers’ flight schedules are affected by countries’ epidemiological situation. The shifting of countries between the three categories will have an impact on the tourist streams to Cyprus. The latest reevaluation yesterday of Group A and B countries by the Health Ministry’s Epidemiological Surveillance Unit bore no surprises while the UK, Sweden, Ukraine and Russia are absent from the two categories. Japan was added to Group A and Serbia to Group B while Bulgaria was moved to Group B from A, as had been announced from last week. Meanwhile, the Balearic Islands, Greece, Cyprus, Portugal and Croatia are at the focus of the first holidays being offered by TUI, the tourism giant said as it announced the kick-off of the summer season in more and more countries. In an announcement, TUI gave a breakdown of its restart activities. These include flights from Switzerland to Larnaca beginning June 29, flights from Germany and the Netherlands in July and subject to demand flights to Cyprus from Denmark. Moreover, Wizz Air is moments away from launching its Cyprus flights on July 1. In 2010 the airline transferred more than 2.5 million passengers to Larnaca while more than 1 million seats will be available for 2020. Its new flights starting on July 1 comprise three German destinations (Dortmund, Karlsruhe and Memmingen), two Greek (Athens and Thessaloniki), one Polish (Wroclaw), two Danish (Copenhagen and Billund), one Finnish (Turku), one Austrian (Salzburg) and one Romanian (Suceava).
  • The United Kingdom should be added to Group B countries from which a PCR test certificate needs to be submitted, member of the team of experts advising the government on Covid-19 Petros Karayiannis has told CNA, noting that for the time being there are hurdles to adding the country to the list due to surges in cases there as well as local lockdowns. Asked when the UK will be added and to which category, he said that “this depends on its epidemiological situation in the coming days,” adding that there is a spike now in the country with local lockdowns like that of Leicester. “If there is a wider spread then it will be hard to incorporate it even in Category B,” he emphasised. Asked to comment on Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios’ remarks that July 15 sounds like a very reasonable date for flights from the UK to start, Karayiannis said that if the country is added to Category B then Cyprus could welcome UK travellers upon submission of a Covid test.
  • Catering establishments will be able to cater to more guests as from tomorrow, the Health Ministry has announced citing the very good epidemiological picture as concerns the coronavirus. Up until today, guidelines governing the operation of catering establishments set a maximum of 75 people inside and 150 people outside. This ceiling was over and above the distancing requirement which stipulated that there can be only one person per three square metres indoors and two square metres outdoors, excluding employees. Under the revised rules that come into effect tomorrow, the social distancing requirement remains in force. However, establishments can now serve a maximum of 100 people inside and 200 people outside. They cannot serve more, even if they have the space required by the distancing rule, the ministry clarified. Moreover, guests must be seated at the table. If the establishments do have bars, these can be used by staff to prepare food and drink but not directly by the guests. The above restrictions apply to the following catering establishments listed in the Health Minister’s decree of June 5:
    • Restaurants
    • Hotels and tourist accommodation
    • Taverns
    • Cafeterias
    • Pizza parlours
    • Pubs, bars and snack bars
    • Coffeeshops
    • Canteens of schools, sports and cultural clubs
  • The above regulations apply only to the businesses listed above. As regards gatherings in public spaces such as weddings, christenings, festivals and other gatherings, the ceiling of 75 people indoors and 150 outdoors remains in force. The ministry also reiterated that concerts are allowed only in outdoor amphitheatres and not any other outdoor space such as stadiums, and provided the specific rules are adhered to. The ministry added that the above arrangements will be reassessed based on the epidemiological indices.
  • The facts may have changed the Cyprus Investment promotion agency’s action plan, but not the main core of its efforts, the attraction of quality investments from abroad. The new reality has brought significant changes to Invest Cyprus’ plans for the current year. As a result of the Covid-19 restrictions, the organization proceeded with the reshaping of its action plan, via the digital transformation of all its promotional activities. In particular, the new plan which is already being implemented since the beginning of June, includes a series of general and targeted digital actions focusing on foreign business and investment audiences in ten important target markets.

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