President Nicos Anastasiades in a message published on Facebook said that he understands some public reactions criticising the new measures on movement restriction, and that decisions are not made lightly but are necessary to safeguard public health:
“I understand the reactions from some citizens on the new measures restricting movement. I share the discomfort caused by this new way of life imposed not only upon us but upon billions of people globally due to the pandemic. I would like you to understand that every time the government is forced to take stricter movement measures I go through an acute conscience test. But the issue is not what I would like to do but what I have to do under these circumstances to feel that I did not fall short of my responsibilities at a time of hard decisions. Mine and the government’s responsibility is to safeguard the health, the life and job security of each and every one of you. In so doing, I will not tolerate any abuse of power violating without cause citizens’ family privacy. I would rather be harshly judged for my decisions today than face your pain and bitterness for loss of your loved ones’ lives because of my diffidence. With the same boldness I have taken painful decisions in the past, I will do so now. In the same way we overcame the crisis then, we will also win this battle now. We will make it.”
Cabinet on Tuesday approved three draft bills, doubling the out-of-court fine for those violating the stay-at-home decree to €300, while taking measures to address prison overpopulation in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. They will be submitted to the House of Representatives which is due to meet on Friday. Speaking at the Presidential Palace, Justice Minister Giorgos Savvides said that raising the fine was deemed necessary, since there have been many violations of the relevant decree. He also said that the police can decide whether to fine offenders or send the case to court, where a prison sentence and a higher fine up to €3,000 may be imposed.
The number of samples tested daily for the detection of the coronavirus by the Institute of Neurology and Genetics (Cing) is one of the highest in the world in relation to the population, chief executive director of the institute Leonidas Phylactou said on Tuesday. So far more than 6,000 samples have been processed by Cing, he said. However, due to a limit on supplies in all countries, not only in Cyprus, testing must be done sparingly and selectively, he noted, adding that at the moment there are adequate supplies.
One more person has died, a man aged 83 years, and another 32 people have tested positive for coronavirus, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday. The people who died so far are seven men and a woman, six of them with underlying health conditions. This brings the total number of deaths to eight and the total number of confirmed cases to 262 (including nine in the British Bases). The average age of the people who died is 68 years.
A woman who has tested positive for coronavirus gave birth at Nicosia’s Makarios Hospital on Tuesday to a healthy baby boy. The baby was delivered by C-section and both the baby and mother are doing fine, Dr Marios Loizou told the Health Ministry’s daily update on the coronavirus situation in Cyprus. He said that both will remain at hospital for the next few days.
The Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday the launch of the new platform connect2cy for Cypriot citizens abroad and calls on them to register via the website www.connect2cy.gov.cy. In its announcement, the Ministry said that the platform will help them map the presence of Cypriots globally amid the Covid-19 crisis, to help them offer more efficient diplomatic services where needed. “The platform will form a communication channel between Cypriots abroad and home and will provide them with timely information on important matters that concern them,” the announcement said.
Police made 315 bookings islandwide in 24 hours of people who were out without the required permission. They said 12,846 checks on drivers and pedestrians were carried out between Monday morning and Tuesday morning. In the 12 hours from 6pm to 6am there were 3,332 checks and 121 bookings. As of Tuesday new measures are in place allowing people out only once a day for essential reasons. There will also be a curfew from 9pm to 6am with people only allowed out for work reasons.
Hospitals are preparing to handle more cases with more medical staff sent to the help of Famagusta referral hospital and a clinic to handle suspicious cases has started operations at Paphos General hospital. Meanwhile state doctors issued a plea to the public on Monday urging them to stay home to stop the virus from spreading further as the recent surge in positive Covid-19 cases is putting a strain on hospitals.
A total of 28 patients are being treated for Covid-19 at Famagusta General Hospital in Paralimni. Five are in the increased care unit. The hospital serves as the referral hospital for coronavirus in Cyprus. Two patients are expected to be discharged today.
The first batch of medical supplies and protection gear for state hospitals from China will arrive in the island on Saturday, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said. In response to criticism over lack of protective equipment and other indispensable materials in state hospitals, the minister said there is enough for the next few days. He said the government had made timely inquiries into purchasing the necessary items but there was shortage due to the global demand.
The Cyprus Drugs Committee has decided to put in motion the procedures to make available sufficient quantities of the drugs used to combat Covid-19 in accordance with the recommendations of a consultative committee of experts, Minister of Health Constantinos Ioannou has announced. These drugs, he noted, “which are already used to deal with other chronic diseases, exist in sufficient quantities.” Further details on the pharmacies which will have these drugs will be announced later, he added.
Cyprus Mail reports that the cabinet on Tuesday approved a proposal by the justice ministry to use ankle bracelets on some inmates who are eligible to spend the rest of their sentence under house arrest in a bid to decongest the prisons and prevent a possible coconavirus spread. Justice Minister Giorgos Savvides said after the cabinet meeting that the measure was decided after a meeting on Monday presided by President Nicos Anastasiades on tackling the overpopulation problem at the central prisons. The decision concerns the amendment of the law on prisons and provides for the use of ankle bracelets to groups of inmates who can serve the remaining of their sentences on house arrest.
The Chinese ambassador in Nicosia is firing back at US and media criticism over his country’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, adding that he believes Cyprus will win the battle against the coronavirus. Ambassador Xingyuan Huang responded to a series of questions posted on the Chinese embassy’s website, addressing his country’s and Cyprus’ response to the virus, as well as raising concern over media coverage.