Two new coronavirus cases were announced by the health ministry on Tuesday, bringing the total 939. Earlier, the ministry said a total of five people were being treated for the virus at Famagusta General, the reference hospital. One of them is in the high dependency unit. The education ministry also reported a total of 8,000 tests for the virus have been conducted to far at schools, out of a planned total of 20,000.
The recovery rate of Coronavirus patients in Cyprus stands at 63.7% as of May 24, according to new data released by the Health Ministry on Tuesday, slightly down compared to 64.4% recorded on May 21. The sex distribution of cases remains 50-50 as does that of age groups: 69% of cases are aged 18-59, 25% are 60+ and a 6% is aged 17 and below.
President Nicos Anastasiades, will address the public on Wednesday evening to announce a new package of measures to support employees and the economy. According to a press release issued by the Presidency, President Anastasiades will tomorrow preside over a meeting of the Council of Ministers at the Presidential Palace. The meeting will start at 7 p.m local time. After the meeting, the President will address the public to announce the measures to support employees and the economy. The new measures follow the withdrawal by the government last week of a bill that would have provided state guarantees for bank loans.
The economic sentiment deteriorated further in May as confidence worsened in the services and retail sectors, the University of Cyprus economics research centre said on Tuesday. Compared with the previous month, the economic sentiment indicator dropped by 4.1 points in May. The decrease was driven by additional confidence losses in the services and retail trade, and to a smaller extent, by weakening confidence in construction. The decline is mainly related to more negative assessments of recent economic conditions than to worsening expectations. The decrease in the services confidence indicator resulted from firms’ less favourable views on their past business situation and past demand. The decline in the retail trade confidence indicator was due to firms’ more negative evaluations of their past sales and more adverse views on their stock levels. The construction confidence indicator decreased as a result of more negative assessments of the level of order books and downward revisions in employment expectations. The industry confidence indicator rose due to less adverse views on the current levels of stocks of finished products and upward revisions in production expectations. A rise in the consumer confidence indicator was mainly driven by upward revisions in consumers’ expectations about their financial conditions and the economic conditions in Cyprus. New survey data, which aim at measuring economic uncertainty, show that the highest levels of uncertainty in May were registered in the sectors of construction and industry. The largest increase in the level of uncertainty, compared with 2019, was recorded in the services sector.
Twelve businesses have been fined for failing to comply with a provision in the decree requiring their employees to undergo a coronavirus test before reopening, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday. It said that health inspectors had issued the 12 out-of-court fines after carrying out 763 checks from May 18 to 22. The ministry added that in consultation with police and municipal health inspectors, checks will be stepped up over the next few weeks at catering establishments in the evenings and over the weekend to ensure compliance with health protocols. Covid-19 tests are compulsory for those working in the retail food and drinks businesses such as bakeries, supermarkets, kiosks, butchers, fishmongers, etc who participate in the supply chain (production of food/drinks, distribution, serving the public) as well as for employees of catering establishments.
Suspended credit facilities at the request of borrowers on May 8 amounted to €1.19 billion from €894 million on April 24, according to data released Monday by the Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC). Under the emergency measures announced by Government to control the spread of COVID-19 in Cyprus, borrower could apply for suspension of instalments and interest on their credit facilities. Gross carrying amount of the suspended loans amounted to € 10.15 billion on May 8, from € 7.39 billion on April 24, of which € 5.96 billion were related to business loans and the remaining € 4.18 billion concerned household loans. In particular, according to the data concerning loans with less than 30 days of arrears in both licensed credit institutions and credit acquisition companies, from the total amount of suspended instalments amounting to € 1.19 billion, €831.79 million related to corporate loans and €360.22 million to household loans. In addition, a total of 43,632 borrowers applied for a loan suspension, of which 38,3276 were for households and 5,305 for businesses. The suspension of instalments as of May 8, 2020, concerned a total of 76,057 credit facilities, of which 63,206 were related to household facilities and 12,851 business facilities.
The largest amount of corporate loans for which a suspension of instalments was requested until May 8, concerned the hospitality and catering sector with a gross value of €1.59 billion and 642 borrowers. The suspended loans requested for real estate business amounted to € 1.07 billion (580 borrowers), for wholesale and retail trade € 933.3 million (1,543 borrowers) and mixed loans €909.2 million (506 borrowers). The value of the loans requested for suspension in the manufacturing sector was € 378.3 million (509 borrowers).
The sector of professional, scientific and technical activities followed with a total loan value of € 288.9 million (358 borrowers), transport and storage with € 192 million (143 borrowers) and health and social services sector with € 109.4 million (121 borrowers).
According to the CBC data, in the field of education, the gross value of the loans requested for the suspension of instalments until May 8 amounted to € 97.5 million (95 borrowers). The value of the loans requested for suspension of instalments in the field of communication and information technology amounted to € 55.2 million (101 borrowers), while in the field of agriculture, forestry and fisheries the value of the loans amounted to € 46.1 million (102 borrowers).
The health advisory committee is keeping a close watch on the consistent crowding observed since restrictions on movement were lifted on May 21, but committee member Petros Karayiannis said lockdown measures won’t be reinstated unless Cyprus returns to a state where around 30-40 new coronavirus cases are announced over consecutive days. While experts are warning the public to avoid behaviours of over-relaxation, by maintaining personal protection and social distancing measures, the full focus of the committee’s attention has shifted onto those being repatriated and on the impending partial resumption of airports.