GCC Press Review 29 Mar 2020

Front Page Headlines

Sunday Mail

Aid package is a gamble

Success of ‘brave’ economic plan will depend on how long lockdown lasts.

  • Cyprus problem-obsessed media switches to coronavirus overload
  • Cyprus: Poll shows most support tough government measures

Simerini

Citizens ready for complete lockdown

(Poll question) Given the prevailing difficult situation, how would you assess a possible decision to ban movement and for total lockdown? Necessary 73%. Excessive 20%. Unecessary 7%.

  • Elias Leontaris (interview): “Defence is an expensive endeavour, but freedom does not come for free”
  • April 1st 1955: The two strategic mistakes that led to the problematic Zurich solution
  • British Bases: The uncontrolled gate of… evil!

Politis

Measures are good, taken too late

First online poll by RetailZoon for “P”. 1,753 people took part with answers weighted by age and sex. When do citizens believe that we will be over the pandemic and the effects on the economy? How do Cypriots react to the closure of churches and the lack of holy communion? 79% increase (in use of technology for communication).

  • Globally (opinion – editorial) God’s application and Limassol’s Athanasios – Could the coronavirus pandemic lead to a change of how the Church thinks over time?
  • Feature: Support for culture
  • Coronavirus: Economy at an inflection point

Phileleftheros

Saturday of terror and anguish

10 people in critical condition, 110,000 SMS for movement – “Give us time to save lives,” doctors plead. One in three private doctors refuse to be drafted with various excuses.

  • The people of CING (Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics) that “read” the coronavirus
  • Varvara Papastavrou: “The youth of Cyprus against the British conqueror”
  • Investor naturalisations called upon again
  • War against the “Blue homeland” – Incident between UNFICYP and occupation forces at Pyla – Turkish moves towards partition of airspace
  • Attempt to create a new Turkish axis

Kathimerini

Hospitals and consumable supplies the greatest patient

The strengthening of state hospitals and sufficient equipment are guarantees for lifting of quarantine and return to normality. Establishment of plan regarding management of hospitals.

  • Concerns in the occupied areas over health inadequacies – Tests and hospitals cause worry in T/C community
  • Politics: Pandemic tests government

Haravgi

Support to the labour community

  • Next days decisive (for coronavirus)
  • Syndicalist of the poor” Kamil Ahmet passed away
  • The test of the European structure – European solidarity faces rough trials– EU leaders incapable of coordination

Alithia

Killer coronavirus! It kills people, killed the Cyprus Problem, killed the economy, wounded GeSY!

Little Maria and grandfather “Nikaros” go viral. Video was shown 349,000 times online, shared 4,000 times, gathered 15,000 likes and more than 1500 comments. Cypriots don’t put brains in their head. Despite Police reports and painful fines and despite the danger from the coronavirus, plenty of people went out for a stroll. Chinese help against COVID-19 ready to be moved to Cyprus with free flight by Aegean – Thanks from President Anastasiades. Ombudswoman suggests alternative imprisonment to deal with coronavirus: either with reducing sentence or with suspending sentence, or with early release from prison. Another 17 cases of COVID19 in Cyprus announced yesterday, 179 total.

  • Everything the Parliament voted to support the economy

Main News

Nicosia and Paphos are the two districts most affected by coronavirus


Alithia, Haravgi, Kathimerini, Phileleftheros, Politis, Simerini, Sunday Mail
Internal Security, Human Rights, CBMs, Regional/ International Relations, EU Matters

The dailies report on Saturday’s announcement that another 17 new cases had been detected in the government controlled areas, which brings the total number of cases up to 179, including those in the SBAs.

According to the official announcements made on Saturday, Nicosia and Paphos are the two most affected districts in the government controlled areas, accounting for 27% of cases each. Larnaca has 21% of the total cases, Limassol has 14% and Famagusta has 7%.

The newspapers also report on the first death by coronavirus recorded in the occupied areas. T/Cs announced that a German tourist aged 73 passed away while being hospitalised in occupied Nicosia.

In another development, Famagusta General Hospital and Sheba Medical Center in Israel agreed to cooperate as the two reference hospitals of their respective countries. The two hospitals will exhange information regarding the practices used. The newspapers also report that medical assistance from China will be flown from Greece to Cyprus with a charter flight by Aegean.

The dailies also report that the Parliament would be voting on a special session on Sunday on the proposals for suspension of loan payments for the duration of the crisis, and the provision of government assistance to banks hit by the crisis. Kathimerini reports that DISY, AKEL, DIKO and Solidarity have reached an initial agreement on ths isssue. The newspaper also recalls that on Friday the Parliament approved an economic package for supporting the economy and workers.

Phileleftheros reports that doctors have expressed concerns due to the fact citizens do not seem to be taking the measures imposed seriously. The newspaper also reports that one in three doctors had refused to be drafted in the government’s efforts to combat the coronavirus, and that problems have surfaced in the cooperation between the Health Ministry and private hospitals.

Politis reports that the lack of a quick reaction at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis is expected to affect the prospects of President Anastasiades’ second term up to 2023, despite the fact that his experience, as well as the strict measures imposed by Greece which served as a useful example to emulate, have helped me stay on top of the situation so far. At the same time, the story adds, opposition partlies have not been able to differentiate their rhetoric.

Kathimerini reports that the government was alarmed by the rise in new coronavirus incidents in the days after its initial measures were announced on March 15th, and it was this that led to the harsher measures currently in effect. The newspaper points out that the crisis was mishandled on the level of communicating the urgency of the measures, especially when it came to the President’s speeches which were seen as“dissapointing” according to the article, which is why people were not sufficiently conforming.

The article also points out that the government is concerned by the rise of cases in Paphos and that the government took note of the decision in the north to quarantine the Karpasia area. Another presssure being faced by the government comes from parents of students that live abroad that have been pushing for repatriation.

Kathimerini reports that the state of the health system in the occupied areas is causing concern. A source told the newspaper that the health system could collapse if new cases increase, which could lead the “government” to ask for help from the G/Cs and the EU. Experts and doctors from the T/C side have also expressed concerns on the lack of cooperation with the G/C side.

The reporter notes that the T/Cs are expecting help from Turkey but that Ankara seems unwilling to provide additional financial assistance to the one that is already being given.

Politis reports that the T/C “government” is getting cornered by the opposition due toe the coronavirus situation, noting that the recent developments will inevitably also affect the elections for T/C leader which will not be held in October. The report notes that the T/C community is expecting a 70% reduction in tourism and major issues with its higher education institutions, two sectors that usually support its economy.

In an op-ed published in multiple newspapers, US Ambassador to Cyprus Judith Garber writes about the lack of transparency displayed by the Chinese government during the crisis, and compares it with the transparency shown by the government of the Republic of Cyprus from the first moment of the crisis.

Garber also takes care to note the statements made by President Anastasiades and T/C leader Mustafa Akinci that they will coordinate in facing the virus as well as the efforts of the bicommunal Technical Committee for Health, as well as the role of the Cyprus Institute for Neurology and Genetics which has become a national leader (also noting that the the CING had been partly funded by USAID in the 1990s).


Government wants to fast-track citizenship by investment


Phileleftheros
Economy, EU Matters

Phileleftheros reports that the Cypriot government aims to speed up the examination process for applications for citizenship by investors, citing the need to boost the Cypriot economy due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the report, the government will keep the criteria that have been set but shorten the period needed for the approval of applications by investors seeking citizenship through the Cyprus Investment Program.

Phileleftheros cites government data that show that the program contributes to the development of the country. The newspaper recalls that due to the controversy surrounding the programme and the reaction of the European Union that has moved against the uncontrolled use of such iniatives by some member states, the government has introduced new regulations and put a cap on the annual number of new naturalisations.