GCC Press Review 25 Mar 2020

Front Page Headlines

Politis

Clamp down… to break the chain

Two dead and eight new cases. New restrictions an open possibility. Police in the streets to monitor application of movement decree. President warns of ban without exception if there is abuse.

  • They “exorcised” the curfew

Phileleftheros

We entered the most extreme scenario

“We were hoping it wouldn’t happen, but it happened. Stay in your homes” scientists say anxiously. Three deaths, seven in intensive care, ban on movement, hospitals in desperation.

  • Annunciation vespers two hours before the curfew

Haravgi

Support public hospitals now

Toll until now up to 3 dead and 124 cases. Equipment must be given to health workers. Flu clinics: Referrals through general practitioners.

  • Athanasios shows disobedience to measures

Cyprus Mail

Officials outline lockdown rules

President warns of total ban if measures not met.

  • Limassol bishop tries to sidestep lockdown, changes service times

Alithia

Police and Army in the streets

Joint patrols to limit unecessary movement of citizens. Warning by Anastasiades: If there new measures are abused or disobeyed, the next step will be ban on movement without exceptions.

  • Coronavirus dead at 3, 8 new cases

Main News

Another two dead from the coronavirus in government controlled areas

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Oikonomiki Kathimerini, Phileleftheros, Politis
Internal Security, Human Rights, CBMs

OVERVIEW

The dailies report that after another two coronavirus patients passed away on Tuesday, the number of dead in the country has risen to three. The two new fatalities are a 58 year old Cypriot pilot and a 63 year old British man.

The British man had been in intensive care, but the 58 year old was not considered to be part of a vulnerable group.

Eight new coronavirus cases were also identified on Tuesday. Three of these new cases were not part of the chains of infection that are being tracked by the government.

The new cases bring the total number of cases in Cyprus to 166. 124 cases have been identified in the government controlled areas. 42 cases have been found in the occupied areas.

Phileleftheros reports on a statement by OKYpY’s Nicosia district scientific director, Marios Loizou, that the crisis has now moved into the phase where the battle is to prevent deaths in intensive care units. The newspaper notes that seven people are now being hospitalised in intesive care, four of which are in serious condition.

Phileleftheros also reports that public hospitals have started restructuring the distribution of hospital beds and personnel in order to be prepared for a spike in hospitalisations. Private hospitals are preparing to host non-coronavirus patients in order to make space in public hospitals.

Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Cyprus, Leontios Kostrikkis, said that the results of the current measures will become apparent in the next weeks, Phileleftheros reports. Alithia reports that Kostrikkis told Politis 107,6 radio that the peak of the epidemic is close, and that following the peak a slowdown will be possible. According to Kostrikkis, the amount of cases in Cyprus remains low due to the efforts undertaken to track infections.

The newspapers also report extensively on the implementation of the measures announced by the government on Monday, which seek to limit citizen movement until April 14. Citizens will have to always carry with them an ID or a passport when outside. Citizens who still need to physically go to work will have to obtain a signed form from their employer.

Any additional outing will have to be approved through a new system utilising SMS messages. Citizens can visit pharmacies, doctors, go to the supermarket or the bank, or visit a government agency if absolutely necessary. Also allowed are physical exercise, taking out a pet for a walk, or participating in a funeral, wedding or christening (a maximum of ten people can participate in these services at a time).

However, the SMS system immediately crashed after its implementation due to high demand. The system received 30,000 requests immediately upon activation at 6 pm on Tuesday. Citizens have been called to use paper forms until the issue is resolved.

Alithia reports that the Police and the National Guard will be conducting joint patrols in order to make sure that the partial lockdown decree is implemeted. Chief of Police Kypros Michaelides said that the Police will be making checks in shops and pharmacies.

In a statement on Twitter, President Anastasiades said that the two new deaths are an indication that citizens should get serious and remain at home. He added that If the new measures are abused the government will have to intensify the lockdown.

In another related development, the newspapers report on the announcement made by the Bishop Athanasios of Limassol that Annunciation Vespers would start earlier than usual on Tuesday in order to be completed before the imposition of the curfew.

Cyprus Mail reports that the Limassol bishopric announced the 6pm service was to be held at 4pm behind closed doors. In the announcement, the bishopric said that the service would be held “in the presence of the faithful who want to participate”.

Politis and Phileleftheros alsoreport that the G/C side provided the T/C side with medicine needed for patients undergoing specifictherapy on Tuesday. The medicines transferred are not available in the occupied areas.

The bicommunal Technical Committee for Health arranged the transfer with the assistance of the RoC’s commissioner for humanitarian issues, Politis reports. The medicine was transferred by a G/C member of the bicommunal committee to a T/C counterpart, at the Ledra Palace checkpoint.

The dailies also report on the latest developments in the occupied areas. Politis reports that there is limited optimism since only one or two new cases are announced per day, and notes that the T/Cs are at the same time concerned about the effects of the coronavirus on the economy.

Politis also refers to the issue of the 175 refugees that attempted to reach the government controlled areas by boat, and are now in the occupied areas, is an additional issue. The T/Cs are unable to send the migrants to Turkey or to the government controlled areas the newspaper notes.

Phileleftheros reports that the Sovereign Base Areas have said in an announcement that they will also impelent the measures announced by the Republic of Cyprus. These measures include limiting movement of citizens and closing down locations for public gatherings.

Cyprus Mail also reports on statements made by the UN Secretary General’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric regarding the measures taken by UNFICYP to ensure the continunity of its operations while making sure no new coronavirus cases enter the country. Dujarric repeated the announcement made several days ago by UNFICYP that all new peacekeepers will be placed on a 14-day isolation period before taking up their duties, and that all civilian staff have been instructed to telework where possible.