GCC Press Review 27 Mar 2020

Front Page Headlines

Politis

Installments, interest rates, layoffs are put on ice for nine months

Safety net and liquidity to the tune of €2,8bn for the economy. Fiscal measures to the tune of 3,8% of the GDP for 260,000 employees and 60,000 businesses. (Central Bank Governor) Constantinos Herodotous’ intervention to the European authorities has been crucial.

  • Rents: No evictions until May, including
  • Chloroquine for patients in serious condition
  • Coronavirus tests from private labs: Only for the minority who have money – They advertise sample taking can be made even within the car!
  • Occupied areas: Tatar is slashing salaries

Phileleftheros

SOS, the (coronavirus) spread is unknown

Doctors and nurses at the front-line of the war are sending out distress signals. “Patients go to hospitals for other reasons and transfer the coronavirus.” The health ministry is stocking up on chloroquine. Tests also at private labs. Daily flights for medical provisions.

  • Ankara is christening the Cypriot EEZ as its own continental shelf
  • Extreme excuses by those violating the decree – He was from Latsia and was on his way to Ayia Napa for a confession. Many made the mistake of taking their dogs for a walk in the parks, which is forbidden.
  • Confusion over the return of students – Only those in the vulnerable groups will come back.
  • Problems for couples organising their weddings – Those of April and May are being pushed back to June and July. Churches and receptions halls are closed.
  • Putin’s tax bomb affects Cyprus too

Haravgi

Put a price cap on essential items

AKEL but also farmers’ organisations are calling for a price cap on essential items after reports of profiteering. Some oligopolies are taking advantage of the situation while there are similar problems also on the trade and sale of meat but also in other sectors.

  • Employees in bakeries and supermarkets are left exposed
  • Health professionals have reached their limits – Fourteen new cases were confirmed yesterday. Private sector nurses were not sent yet to state hospitals.
  • They are calling for the repatriation of their children
  • For many woman and children, home is a pace of fear and not a haven

Cyprus Mail

Stiffer penalties for breaking ban

Justice Minister: some offenders should not expect to get off with just a €150 fine.

  • Loan payments suspended, cabinet approves €2bn stimulus package
  • Ministry: effectiveness of malaria drug still unclear

Alithia

Good news is coming, be patient

(Epidemiology experts say) Leontios Kostrikkis, Petros Karayiannis, Michalis Voniatis and Maria Koliou. Restrained optimism by Cypriot scientists over tackling coronavirus. We are almost at the peak of the spread of the disease and the countdown will start within days. Fourteen new coronavirus cases were announced yesterday by the health ministry, reaching in total 146, 76 of which are contacts. Harsher measures for those moving illegally – €150 on the spot fines or prison, and/or fine up to €3,000. Evictions of tenants are frozen until May 31. Police took a testimony by the Limassol Bishop on his decision to carry out a church service attended by faithful whose number exceeded the permitted limit. Support measures for the agricultural sector – free quantities of water, facilities in payment of water invoices, full compensation for crop damage etc.

  • Fake sick leaves by doctors (to municipal employees)
  • Moratorium in the payment of installments and state guarantees for boosting liquidity – Two important measures to support the economy.

Main News

Concerns as more coronavirus cases emerge out of the blue

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Human Rights

OVERVIEW

The dailies report that 14 new cases tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday bringing the number of confirmed cases to 146.

According to the papers, four of the new cases concerned persons who arrived from abroad, eight were identified after contact tracing, one person is a doctor from Paphos, and there is one more individual whose background of movements is being investigated. The numbers include three cases from the British Bases. Six people are on assisted breathing, two of them are at the intensive care unit in Limassol general hospital and four at the Nicosia general hospital. The intubated patients’ condition is critical but stable, the dailies report.

The papers also report that nine TCs died in the UK from coronavirus.

Phileleftheros reports that the actual number of coronavirus cases in Cyprus is unknown with the numbers announced daily as a mere indication of the true picture.

The paper reports that three persons who went in hospital for other health reasons were found to also have coronavirus, which raises concerns among staff in state hospitals. Some demand that patients are checked for coronavirus before admitted to hospitals to prevent more of their colleagues infected with the virus or pass it on to more patients.

Scores of nurses and doctors have found themselves off the battle. A doctor is currently intubated and in critical condition while another’s condition has worsened and was admitted to hospital, the paper reported.

The state health services organisation Okypy’s head for Nicosia district, Marios Loizou, said that the more the coronavirus cases in society and the ‘orphan’ cases, the bigger the possibility of persons being admitted to hospitals for other reasons and found positive to the virus.

Doctors’ and nurses’ unions told the paper there is not enough protective equipment for them in state hospitals citing inability to safely treat coronavirus patients without them also contracting the virus and infecting others. They said provisions are stocked in storage rooms and gradually distributed to hospitals calling for a speedier delivery of these items.

Cyprus Mail also reports that health officials appealed to the public to follow the health ministry’s rules on movement. Executive director of the Larnaca and Famagusta hospitals Giorgos Karotsakis cited the case of a 75-year-old patient admitted to Larnaca hospital’s general clinic for a stroke who also tested positive for coronavirus. He had frequently visited coffee shops despite the ban on movement. He called the 75-year-old’s defiance of the ban on movement “unacceptable and condemnable”. Karotsakis said that 15 doctors and 32 nurses and other staff who have come in contact with the 75-yearold are now in self-isolation for 14 days.

According to Haravgi, the Institute of Neurology and Genetics (CING) said that it has processed more than 4,000 samples for coronavirus so far, on average 300 to 500 per day but that it is not delaying in delivering the results nor has had any problems since it has specialised staff and the necessary equipment and facilities for these tests.

Politis reports that until yesterday more than 600 people found to violate the ban om movement including pedestrians, car and motorcycle drivers.

Justice Minister Giorgos Savvides told the paper that been 34 violations concerning churches, bars, kiosks, street vendors, restaurants, a barber shop and a shooting range.

The dailies also report that the health ministry announced that sufficient quantities of chloroquine, a malaria drug which may be useful for the treatment of the coronavirus, will be made available by pharmaceutical company Remedica Ltd to treat chronical diseases including Covid-19. The health ministry said it was in contact with the World Health Organisation and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and follows all new developments regarding the use of medicine in clinical trials with the aim to find an effective and safe drug to treat Covid-19.

The papers also report on the economic package announced in the north but also on the statements by TC ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay to Euronews on the issue of the German tourists who were in quarantine in the north.

Alithia reports that Ozersay tried to take politically advantage of the issue arguing that despite the occupied areas’ non-recognition internationally, and that fact that the north was left to deal with this alone, they have proved to be a true member of the international community.

Phileleftheros too, reported that Ozersay tried to use to issue to elicit the recognition of the occupied areas.


Ankara says gas exploration off Cyprus is in Turkey’s continental shelf

Phileleftheros
Energy, Regional/International Relations

OVERVIEW

The paper reports that Turkey will not back down on the memorandum it signed with Tripoli while in a new letter to the UN, it declares that all the exploration and drilling activities in the Cypriot exclusive economic zone (EEZ) are areas of its own continental shelf.

The daily, citing a letter by Turkey’s permanent representative to the UN Feridun Sinorlioglu, dated March 18, reports that Ankara responds to the letter from the Republic of Cyprus reporting to the UN the violation of its sovereign rights by Turkey’s illegal exploration and drilling activities in the Cypriot EEZ.

In the letter, Sinirlioglu reiterates that Turkey has submitted to the UN her ipso facto and ab initio legal and sovereign rights in the maritime areas of the Eastern Mediterranean. He also said that the outer limits of Turkish continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean follow the median line between the Turkish and Egyptian coastlines in accordance with the outcome of future delimitation agreements among all relevant states, and with equitable principles, considering all the special and relevant circumstances based on international law. Sinirlioglu said that the memorandum signed last November between Turkey and the Government of National Accord in Libya on the delimitation of maritime jurisdiction areas in the Mediterranean was in line with this.

After conveying the geographical coordinates of the outer limits of the Turkish continental shelf agreed by the delimitation agreement between Turkey and Libya, Sinirlioglu, said that the memorandum followed the precedent of various judgments by international bodies of adjudication and was based on the principles that islands cannot have a cut-off effect on the coastal projection of Turkey, the country with the longest continental coastline in Eastern Mediterranean. It was also based on that the islands which lie on the wrong side of the median line between two mainlands cannot create maritime jurisdiction areas beyond their territorial waters and that the length and direction of the coasts should be taken into account in delineating maritime jurisdiction areas.

“In addition to the fact that the Greek Cypriot Administration is not competent to represent the whole island of Cyprus and as such cannot claim de jure and/or de facto jurisdiction or sovereignty over these areas, it is against the legal background explained above that the hydrocarbon activities carried out by Turkey lie entirely within the Turkish continental shelf.

Any claim concerning the hydrocarbon activities of the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ should be addressed to the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’, he said, according to the paper.

The daily also reports that Turkey now want dialogue, citing Sinirlioglu saying that Ankara stands ready today, as it did in the past, to give its full support to ensure a just, equitable and peaceful solution to all pending issues, including the equitable delimitation of maritime jurisdiction areas with all relevant coastal states that it recognises and with which it has diplomatic relations, in accordance with international law, in order to further contribute to the stability and prosperity of the whole Mediterranean basin.

Turkey believes that building peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean will only be possible through dialogue and cooperation, he said, the paper reports.

KEY ACTORS
Sinirlioglu (Turkey’s perm. rep to the UN)
>>
The MoU Turkey signed with Libya is in line with Ankara’s legal and sovereign rights in the maritime areas of the East Med as submitted to the UN and future delimitation agreements among all relevant states.
>> The MoU followed the precedent of various judgments & is based on the principles that islands cannot have a cut-off effect on the coastal projection of Turkey which is the country with the longest continental coastline in the East Med.
>> Islands which lie on the wrong side of the median line between two mainlands cannot create maritime jurisdiction areas beyond their territorial waters while the length and direction of the coasts should be taken into account in delineating maritime jurisdiction areas.
>> The GCs do not represent the whole of Cyprus & cannot claim de jure and/or de facto jurisdiction or sovereignty over these areas.
>> The hydrocarbon activities carried out by Turkey lie entirely within the Turkish continental shelf, while any claim concerning the hydrocarbon activities of the ‘TRNC’ should be addressed to the ‘TRNC’.
>> Ankara remains ready to contribute to the equitable delimitation of maritime jurisdiction areas with all coastal states it recognises in order to further contribute to the stability and prosperity of the whole Mediterranean basin.
>> Building peace and stability in the East Med will only be possible through dialogue and cooperation.


RoC delivers drugs for TC GESY beneficiaries through UNFICYP

Alithia, Haravgi
Human Rights, CBMs

OVERVIEW

The papers report that the office of the Presidential Commissioner delivered to UNFICYP on Thursday pharmaceuticals for TC patients, who are GESY beneficiaries.

Prescription drugs were delivered to an UNFICYP representative.  
Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou told the Cyprus News Agency that at the request of TC patients, they compiled a list with prescription drugs for 20-25 patients and his office collected the pharmaceuticals. He said additional needs for more patients may arise in the future.

Photiou said that the request to deliver medicine to TCs through UNFICYP has been accepted given the critical period Cyprus is going through, and stressed the humanitarian nature of the operation.


No problems in enclaved villages from coronavirus

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Human Rights

OVERVIEW

Phileleftheros reports that the community leader of Rizokarpaso, Michalis Panteli, said that there are no problems in the occupied villages of Rizokarpaso and Ayia Triada where measures are taken against the spread of coronavirus.

The daily reports that everything closed down on the area with the majority of the enclaved, most of them elderly persons, remaining in their houses, while the churches but also the Monastery of Apostolos Andreas remain closed.

According to the paper, the residents of the villages are allowed to only leave their homes to pick up supplies sent to them through UNFICYP, or to go to pharmacies, supermarkets and their farms.

Luckily, the paper reports, there are no coronavirus cases in the two communities while in the case patients need to get to the free areas, UNFICYP will make the necessary arrangements.

Authorities will disinfect the exterior of buildings in Rizokarpaso and Ayia Triada on Friday while residents were asked to remain indoors.

The schools closed down earlier than those in the free areas and it is not clear if they will open in April 13, but the teachers of the primary school continue to deliver classes online, the paper reports.

Haravgi and Alithia report that Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou said that the delivery of foodstuff and pharmaceuticals to the enclaved in Karpasia and the Maronite villages continues. Photiou also referred to the demand by the TC authorities to disinfect themselves the items before they are delivered to the enclaved as part of measures taken in the north against the spread of coronavirus.

Photiou also referred to a cancer patient who needs to cross the free areas for chemotherapy. He said that arrangements are being made to facilitate that person but there is also the option to receive chemotherapy in the occupied areas, with the final decision to be made by the patient, the papers report.

In a comment, Politis said that Ayia Triada, Yialousa and Rizokarpaso have been quarantined due to coronavirus cases. It seems that some are dealing with the situation more seriously than in our side, even if this means that the occupied villages are now doubly enclaved, the paper said.