GCC Press Review 31 Mar 2020

Front Page Headlines

Politis

Measures without moderation against guilty and innocent alike

All citizens punished because they (government) cannot control the irresponsible ones. Increase of fine from 150 to 300 euros (presupposes new amendment of the law). Gatherings at any house of persons beyond permanent residents prohibited. Food and drink retail businesses closed on Sunday, except for kiosks.

  • Initial predictions upended: 3% mortality causes fear– Ministry of Health announced another death and 16 new cases
  • Passports: Window for revocation

Phileleftheros

Seven dead, ten in critical condition

Deaths causes fear – Cyprus has already reached maximum (in relation to) international statistics. Private doctors refuse to be drafted, health professionals turn to “sick leave”, while only in Nicosia more than 180 are absent from public hospitals.

  • Warning for Vasilikos units: Electricity in all of Cyprus depends on one substation

Haravgi

They will check us even in our house!

Right to use sms (system) only once per day. Supermarkets, bakeries, pastry shops closed on Sunday. Prohibition of gatherings and movement after 9 pm.

Cyprus Mail

Under curfew, fines doubled

Just one trip out a day and under 65s must send text message.

Alithia

They clamp down even more

One step before a total lockdown because of criminal irresponsibility of the disobedient. Only one exceptional exit per day by sending an sms, fine increased to 300 euros, total prohibition of movement from 9 pm to 6 am (except from workers that possess special form A), prohibition of gatherings in houses, abolishment of paper form for movements for everyone under 65 and closure of all shops without exceptions on Sundays (supermarkets, bakeries, fruit shops et cetera).

  • Occupied areas: Five new cases yesterday. Total 69 and one dead

Main News

Government tightens measures as experts warn of Cyprus mortality rate

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

OVERVIEW

Daily newspapers report on the latest developments on the coronavirus front, on both sides of the island. According to Monday’s official announcements, 16 new cases of coronavirus infection were detected in the government controlled areas and one more person passed away.

The 16 new cases were detected as a result of 400 clinical tests. Two of the new cases arrived in Cyprus from countries in the EU, and 4 were detected through tracking contacts of infected persons. The authorities are still investigating the other 10 cases.

The total number of cases in Cyprus has reached 299 according to the tally published by Phileleftheros. So far 230 cases have been detected in the government controlled areas (five of which in the Sovereign Base Areas) and 69 in the occupied areas (five new cases were reported yesterday).

Out of the 230 total cases, 130 have been caused by the spread of the virus through interpersonal contact in Cyprus. So far, 22 persons who had been hospitalised have been cured.

Politis reports that the government’s experts pointed out to journalists that the rate of coronavirus deaths compared to the number of confirmed cases has reached 3%, which is higher than many countries around the world. Experts are also concerned due to the increase of cases where it has been impossible to detect history of transmission.

On Monday Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou announced additional, stricter measures, imposing a night time curfew from 9 pm to 6 am and limiting the movements of citizens to one per day (using the special SMS number). Also, gatherings in houses are banned and the fine for anyone not conforming to the measures is increased from 150 euro to 300 euro. Furthermore, all businesses, except kiosks and mini-markets, will have to remain closed on Sundays.

Ioannou had to make multiple clarifying questions on the measure concerning the ban on private gatherings. Police will be able to check houses to make sure only the permanent residents of a house are at that house at any given time. The police will also be checking businesses and shops that remain open in order to monitor that distancing rules are being maintained. Also, persons that have been found to be positive to the coronavirus will be monitored through the use of an electronic bracelet.

Once again the government had had to issue clarifications regarding the measures immediately after the initial announcement. Ioannou had to specify in a seperate statement that there are exceptions regarding the one exit per day rule. These exceptions concern people that need to go to the pharmacy, to donate blood, go to the doctor, people that cannot take care of themselves and people that need to take soliders to the National Guard.

Phileleftheros cites information that despite this private doctors are avoiding joining the effort and that some call out with a sick leave. Ioannou also said that the shipment of protective equipment donated from China will be arriving on Saturday.

Phileleftheros also reports that the interministerial committee on the coronavirus has decided that Cypriots that have been stuck abroad (including students) will be repatriated gradually. Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides said talking to the CyBC that Cypriots abroad will be able to record their status through a special online platofm.

The dailies also report that a night time curfew has been also declared in the occupied areas. According to the Cyprus Mail, the night curfew will be imposed between 9pm and 6am.


Arrangements made to assist enclaved in quarantined Karpasia

Alithia, Phileleftheros
CBMs, Internal Security, Human Rights

OVERVIEW

Special arrangements have been made to help the inhabitants of the quarantined towns and villages of the Karpasia region, including about 300 enclaved G/Cs, the newspapers report.

Phileleftheros reports that supermarkets in the town of Agios Synesios will be open every morning for people to order provisions which will then be delivered at home. Specific times have been also agreed during which cattle farmers will be able to tend to their animals.

Also, the nurse appointed by the RoC Ministry of Health will continue to visit and take care of elderly G/Cs in Rizokarpaso, Agia Triada and Leonarisso.

Phileleftheros also cites statements by human rights commissioner Photis Photiou, who said that medicine needed by the G/C inhabitants will be sent this week without a problem. This is expected to take place on Wednesday rather than Friday, he added.

Regarding food provisions, Photiou said that there are efforts being made to send baby food for special cases, as well as that the government is considering sending non-perishable foods. He also said that he suggested to the Cabinet of Ministers that the government also send a cash allowance to these vulnerable groups.

Photiou said that there are no problems regarding deliveries in the Maronite villages.


ENI drillings planned for April to be postponed due to coronavirus

Politis
Energy, Economy, Regional/ International Relations

OVERVIEW

Politis reports that Italian energy company ENI will most likely have to postpone its drilling at target “Cronus” in plot 6 of the Cypriot EEZ due to the coronavirus crisis.

The newspaper cites information that neither ENI nor the government have taken final decisions. However, Politis notes citing the same information, it is unlikely that the staff needed to conduct works on board of drillship ‘Tungsten Explorer’ and to crew supporting ships will be able to travel to the Cyprus.

The drillship is currently in Lebanon’s EEZ, where it is expected to stay until the end of April. Furthermore, even if workers and staff were to travel to Cyprus, they would have to be quarantined for 14 days before being able to start work, the newspaper notes.

Politis also notes that the problems faced by ENI and the government are not limited to them alone but affect the entire industry globally, especially after the recent huge drop in oil prices.

Final decisions are expected to be taken in the next few days. At this stage it is possible that the drilling will have to be indefinitely postponed. Politis also notes that the current situation overturns the government’s already ambitious plans to push for nine drillings by ENI, TOTAL, ExxonMobil and Noble Energy during 2020 and 2021.