GCC Press Review 29 Apr 2020

Front Page Headlines

Politis

152 should attend to their expertise

Archbishop: We should get back to our work and not have to hold funerals. He accuses healthworkers that want temple reopenings for populism and putting on a show. There will be no extraordinary convening of the Holy Synod. Trust government and experts.

  • We half open on Monday

Phileleftheros

Restart of optimism

Return to normality step by step until July – Concerns for retail sector. Decrees start turning into “stern advice”.

  • Considerations for new postonment of “elections”
  • Haftar puts wedge in Erdogan’s plans

Haravgi

They ask double for coronavirus tests

From 150 euro to 55 to 80 euros… on offer. Audit Office: Put a throttle on profiteering. Lab Association says there is misinformation.

  • Dev-Is: Solution for the T/C workers
  • DEFA (Natural Gas Public Company) submitted application for management of liquified natural gas plant

Cyprus Mail

EU joint travel policy possible

As Cyprus eyes tourists in July, could include health record, airport checks.

  • Cyprus: Archbishop tells medics to mind their own business

Alithia

Beginning of the end of the quarantine

First loosening of measures to be decided by Cabinet of Ministers and to be announced today. Construction sites, all sorts of small shops and businesses, farmers’ markets and car-sale businesses open on Monday – Individual swimming will be allowed, park walkways reopen, second exceptional movement – No differentation at this stage concerning churches.

Main News

Cabinet of Ministers to debate gradual lifting of measures

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

OVERVIEW

Fifteen more cases of the coronavirus were detected on Tuesday as a result of 2,981 tests, the government’s team of scientists announced. The total number of cases in the government controlled areas (including the SBAs) has now reached 837. The dailies also report citing T/C media that no new cases were detected in the occupied areas on Tuesday out of 372 tests. The number of cases in the north remains at 108.

The government’s experts noted that despite the uptick in new cases, the overall positive trends of the past few days persist. Two of the new cases came from 727 tests conducted to groups of essential workers and 6 were detected through 237 tests of persons detected through contact tracing. Another two were detected through 210 tests conducted by the Microbiology Labs of the country’s General Hospitals, one case was a person who had just returned from abroad and another 4 were detected as a result of 920 tests conducted by the citizens’ own iniative.

The experts noted that since April 11th, 17,014 out of a projected 20,000 tests of front line workers had been completed.

Molecular virology professor Leontios Kostrikkis told journalists that the scientific team’s proposals on the gradual lifting of measures had been submitted to President Anastasiades on Tuesday.

Kostrikkis also said that during the gradual lifting of measures citizens should still maintain social distancing measures. Asked whether the increased number of cases on Tuesday is connected to citizens disobeying measures on Easter, Kostrikkis said that the experts cannot be certain.

State Health Services (OkyPY) scientific director for Nicosia, Marios Loizou, told the media that by Tuesday afternoon 15 persons remained in Famagusta General Hospital, one of which in intensive care. All of the patients are stable. Another four patients are intubated in Limassol and Nicosia, while another two are hospitalised but have been taken off respirators in Nicosia. Five more confirmed cases are being treated in hospitals. Four persons exited hospital on Tuesday.

Loizou also said that outpatient facilities have been reopened and that the Health Ministry is expected in the next few days to lift the decree which cancelled non-urgent surgeries.

Politis reports citing information on the four stages of the lifting of measures that are being examined by the government. The first phase would bring opening of small shops, park walkways and construction sites. The second phase would lift the limits on the movements of citizens and the use of the SMS system, and would bring the reopening of gyms, beauty parlours and barbershops, as well as possibly of restaurants and bars. The third phase would see reopening of schools during early June.

Airports would reopen during the fourth phase, towards the end of June. Flights would be only allowed from specific countries and on the basis of specific benchmarks. The newspaper notes that during this phase checkpoints could reopen, with some arguing that checkpoints should reopen before external borders.

Phileleftheros reports that the occupied areas and the government-controlled areas are moving in parallel regarding the gradual lifting of the measures, taking note of the fact that the “cabinet of ministers” is also meeting on Wednesday and that the loosening could start on May 4th.

The newspaper cites statements made by “foreign minister” Kudret Ozersay to the Turkish Anadolu state news agency, as translated by the Press and Information Office. Ozersay said that the T/Cs intend to first gradually reopen society internally before opening externally which will happen at the last stage of the lifting of the measures.


T/C union Dev-Is offers way out for T/C workers to receive support

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Economy, CBMs, Human Rights, Internal Security

OVERVIEW

The dailies report that T/C union Dev-Is has suggested a solution to the 1,525 T/Cs that work in the construction sector in the south but live in the north, and therefore face difficulties in receiving the assistance they are entitled to from the RoC.

In a statement, Dev-Is said that the workers could open an account in the T/C cooperative bank. Devi-Is would then forward their information to the Labour Ministry in the south to facilitate the transfer.

The dailies recalls that these are workers pay social security but in some cases have no bank accounts in the south or access to their bank accounts in the south. The newspapers also recall that with a letter to President Anastasiades, the workers ask to be allowed to cross the checkpoints to return to work after May 4th in case construction sites reopen, since they have no other income.

Alithia writes in a short comment, citing information, that the ministries of the RoC involved in the issue of the 1,525 T/C workers had quickly moved to solve the problem the moment their letter was publicised. The anonymous commentator points out that despite the fact that there had been no result by Tuesday, the readiness of the RoC to help T/C workers should be noted and added that this is how one achieves political goals.


Greek Foreign Minister calls on Turkey to reduce tensions in Aegean

Phileleftheros
External Security, Regional/ International Relations, Energy, EU Matters

OVERVIEW

Phileleftheros reports on statements made by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias regarding Turkey’s actions in the Aegean as well as in the Cypriot EEZ. Dendias said during an interview on Greek Star TV that Turkey’s behaviour does not help Ankara’s own aims.

Dendias also said that Greece will not follow Turkey’s example since Athens insists on operating based on international law.

Dendias was asked to comment on the possibility of Greece entering into EEZ delineation negotiations with Italy and Egypt. The Greek FM said that this is one of the priorities of the government and that after years of delay now is the time to proceed. He added that there is a frank discussion with these countries but that he is not ready to say when and how a negotiation would yield results.

He noted that Turkey should understand that the way to solve any problem is through negotiations on the basis of international law and not through acts such as violating Greek airspace or infringing on Cyprus’s sovereign rights in its EEZ.

The newspaper also reports citing website Militaire.gr that Greek National Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos contacted his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar in order to send the message that the current situation could lead to accidents. According to the report, Akar did not respond regarding FIR violations but appeared flexible on issues regarding the situation in the Aegean, by cancelling some military exercises.

Phileleftheros also reports that Cypriot Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides discussed recent Turkish actions in the Cypriot EEZ with French secretary of state for European Affairs Amelie de Montchalin over the phone. Christodoulides wrote on Twitter that the two also exchanged opinions on the pandemic situation and other EU related isssues.