GCC Press Review 30 Apr 2020

Front Page Headlines

Politis

Back to normalcy with careful steps

Gradual and long return to normalcy from Monday. Shops open on May 4 and we will be able to move about with three text messages. On May 11 high school pupils who will graduate go back to school. Churches, restaurants, hairdresser and beauty salons open with restrictions.

  • Stretching the hand to Turkey (north calling for money from Ankara)
  • Leontios Kostrikis: Threats over the vaccines
  • Requests to the EU on air transports-shipping: Appeal so that we are not left isolated – The first batch of measures from the EU Commission has arrived.

Phileleftheros

The countdown has begun

Step by step back to normalcy. Another 22 days of movement restrictions. “Today we are taking a careful step forth, the danger has not gone away.”

  • Akinci wants a joint decision on the crossings
  • Threats against (member of government’s advisory committee on coronavirus) Kostrikis: “You are a Muslim, you will get what you deserve.” – Arrest of a 35-year-old man.
  • Each repatriated person costs the state over €1,000 – The 14-day quarantine costs €840, agreement with 24 hotels all over Cyprus. It will cost between seven to nine million euros for the return of 7,000 to 9,000 of our compatriots.

Haravgi

Life returns slowly-slowly

President Nicos Anastasiades announced yesterday the first relaxations. Restrictions in the construction sector are being lifted as of May 4, all retail businesses assume operations except malls and department stores. Street markets restart as well as travel agents. From May 21 all movement restrictions for citizens will be lifted and hair salons and barber shops open.

  • Tenders for the second and third phase of the renovation of Apostolos Andreas monastery – Plans also for other projects.
  • Workers’ health is above profit

Cyprus Mail

‘The danger has not gone away’

Final-year students going back to school, some business open, three SMS outings, cafes and beaches not yet.

  • Petrides warns Cyprus entering ‘most dangerous phase’ of crisis
  • Protaras and Paralimni getting ready for the summer season

Alithia

Phased relaxations

The president gave the green light with his address for the gradual return to normalcy.

  • Occupied areas: The coffers are empty, complaints over Turkey – Mustafa Akinci: The crossings cannot open unilaterally, a joint decision is needed.

Main News

Relaxations announced with warning that the danger has not gone away

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

OVERVIEW

The main item in all papers on Thursday is the announcement by President Nicos Anastasiades on the gradual relaxations as of May 4 of restrictions to curb the spread coronavirus currently in place.

According to the dailies Anastasiades announced the relaxations in a televised address on Wednesday evening after six new coronavirus cases were confirmed bringing the total to 843.

Anastasiades said that as of May 4, restrictions will be lifted in the manufacturing sector and in all related business activities which support this sector, all retail business will open, except malls and department stores, while tourist agents, flee markets, street vendors and bazaars can also open.

All civil servants will also return to their workplaces except those in vulnerable groups and those who need to stay at home to take care of their children until the state and the private schools open. They will however, obliged to work from home if requested. Courts will also resume operations.

Members of the public will now be able to send three text messages for permission to go outside while the all-night curfew will be between 10pm and 6am.

Visits to churches, mosques and other places of worship will be allowed provided that there are no more than 10 persons present.

Also, from May 4, open space sports areas will be open to high performance athletes who are included in the records of the Cyprus Olympic Committee, while training of team sports will be permitted from May 18 also in open spaces.

High school pupils on their final year who go to state and private schools will return to their classrooms on May 11.

As of May 21, all restrictions of the movement of citizens will be lifted while visit to parks, open space playgrounds, squares, marinas etc. will be permitted, provided no more than 10 persons are gathered at any time. Hairdressing salons, barber shops and beauty centres will resume operations.

Catering business will resume operations but only in outer spaces and in strict adherence to the protocols of the ministries of labour and health.

As of June 1, people will be allowed to go to organised beaches, ports will begin full operation, excluding the disembarkation of passengers from cruise ships, public libraries, museums, archaeological, and historical sites will reopen as well as betting shops.

On the same date, church services and other forms of religious worship in churches, mosques and other places of worship will be permitted, provided that protocols on hygiene are strictly adhered to.  The same measures are valid for weddings, christenings, and funerals.                          

Personal exercise will also be permitted outdoors such as jogging, swimming in the sea and cycling while walks on walkways in parks will be allowed for groups of not more than two persons. Children are not included in the above number.

Parks, playgrounds and other open spaces, will remain closed. 

Anastasiades also said that the gradual repatriation of students and other Cypriot citizens who were stranded abroad continues.

He also stressed the importance of compliance with the protective measures warning that the danger has not gone away. 

The dailies also report that a 35-year-old man from Nicosia was arrested in connection with threatening voice mails to one of the members of the government’s advisory committee on coronavirus, Dr Leontios Kostrikis.

Kostrikis, who is the person announcing daily the new coronavirus cases, was absent from Wednesday’s briefing with the health ministry’s spokesperson announcing that he had gone to the police station to report on some intimidating phone calls which he received in recent days.

Phileleftheros reported that a man had called Kostrikis’ office on Wednesday and left threatening voicemails. In one of them the man told Kostrikis “I will take care of you, you will see what’s going to happen to you, you are a Muslim and we will organise ourselves against you.”

The daily reported that the man also referred to the coronavirus vaccines while also mentioning Bill Gates. It seems from the things he said that the perpetrator is an anti-vaxxer, the daily said.


Xingyuan: The pandemic should not stand in the way of peace process

Alithia, Cyprus Mail, Haravgi, Phileleftheros, Politis
Negotiations Process, CBMs, Regional/International Relations, Human Rights

OVERVIEW

Phileleftheros reports that China’s ambassador to Cyprus, Huang Xingyuan, said he had a telephone conversation with UNSG Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar.

The ambassador said in a tweet he had a good phone call with Spehar regarding UNFICYP and the Cyprus problem. China firmly supports the UN’s role in resolving the Cyprus problem, he said, adding that they agreed that now is the time for parties to enhance mutual confidence. The pandemic should not stand in the way of the peace process, he said, the daily reported.

All dailies also report on the statements by TC leader Mustafa Akinci that the reopening of the crossings should be a joint decision and not a unilateral one such as those that led to their closure.

Alithia, Haravgi, Phileleftheros and Politis include in their pages also the statements by ‘prime minister’ Ersin Tatar on the bad financial situation in the north and calls for money from Turkey.

Phileleftheros reports that the ship is sinking and collapses financially.

According to Politis, Tatar turned to Turkey even for the minimum allowance to TCs working in the free areas, which is a political move.

Alithia reports that Tatar admitted that the coffers are empty while complaints are voiced by others that Turkey has not helped the TCs financially to cope with the consequences of the pandemic.

KEY ACTORS
Xingyuan (China’s ambassador to Cy)
>>
China firmly supports the UN’s role in resolving the Cyprob & agrees with Spehar that now is the time for parties to enhance mutual confidence.
>> The pandemic should not stand in the way of the peace process.

Akinci
>>
Believes that both sides should jointly decide on the reopening of the crossings and not make again unilateral decisions.


Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage continues work despite pandemic

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

OVERVIEW

The dailies report that GC head of the bicommunal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, Takis Hadjidemetriou, said they continue to work and cooperate despite that works have been temporarily halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hadjidemetriou told the Cyprus News Agency that the committee’s GC and TC members continue to work through teleconferences and that planning of projects is ongoing despite a temporary halt in construction.

He also said that they have also launched tender bids for the next phase of the restoration of the Apostolos Andreas monastery in the Karpasia peninsula, that concern the monastery’s medieval chapel, supporting the nearby building and the surrounding area.

Hadjidemetriou also said that they are also working on plans on starting works for the restoration of eight churches, eight mosques and seven fountains, mostly from the Ottoman era, and has issued a call for tenders for the clearing of the surrounding areas of two cemeteries.

He added that the committee and UNDP are in contact with the EU to promote these projects, the papers reported.


Unions from both sides of the divide mark May 1

Haravgi, Phileleftheros
Human Rights

OVERVIEW

The dailies report that trade unions from both sides of the divide – PEO, DEVIS, KTAMS, KTOS, KTOEOS, BES, KOOP-SEN, DAU-SEN – that are members of the World Federation of Trade Unions, issued a joint statement ahead of International Workers Day marked on May 1.

The unions called on all workers, GCs and TCs, despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic, to gather around their unions and reconfirm on the occasion of May 1, their commitment to the struggle for peace and social progress.

They said this year’s May Day slogan is ‘Workers’ health over profit’ and call on workers to join forces “to defend and expand the labour and social conquests handed down to us by the pioneering TC and GC trade unionists and to send the message that we will not accept under any circumstances the burden of the consequences of the pandemic to be dumped on the shoulders of the workers.”

The unions also called on the workers to reconfirm their commitment to the struggle for a just and mutually accepted solution of the Cyprus problem and reunification of the island under a bizonal, bicommunal federation without any protectors or guardians.


GC musicians perform Greek version of popular Turkish song

Haravgi
CBMs, Human Rights

OVERVIEW

According to the daily, a group of 22 GC musicians joined forces to perform the Greek version of a song by Turkish popular poet, Ashik Veysel, Uzun ince bir yoldayim (I am on a long road).

Their aim is to promote peace.

The lyrics of the song were translated in Greek by Giorgos Kalogirou. The group said the song, that talks of a long road, for them symbolises Ledra street which in the past was known to locals as Makridromos/Uzun yol (long road).

They said that one of the crossings between the south and north sides of the island in on Ledra street and expressed the wish that one day there will be no more divided homelands anywhere in the world.

Mucisian Avraam Kontos was able to put together the 22 voices with the help of technology and produce a video clip which was recently launched, the daily reports.