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MEASURES/GUIDELINES IN PLACE FOR DEALING WITH THE CONSEQUENCES OF CORONAVIRUS [UPDATE]

NEW MEASURES ANNOUNCED BY THE MINISTER OF HEALTH, 30/3/20  

According to the Minister of Health’s new decree, the following measures are put into force on 31 March 2020: 

The right of entry into the Republic without the presentation of a medical examination certificate for coronavirus applies to:

  1. Those who have travelled abroad for medical reasons, as well as the persons who accompanied them at their departure or hospitalization.
  2. Students who belong to “vulnerable groups” in relation to the coronavirus, in accordance with the Press release issued by the Ministry of Health, dated 16 March 2020. 

Those who have travelled for medical reasons, instead of presenting the medical certificate, should hold a certificate from the local Diplomatic Missions of the Republic of Cyprus.

Those who are students and belong to the vulnerable groups should hold a special certificate which will be issued only after an evaluation of the prerequired medical certificates by a three-member Medical Council. Applications will be submitted to the e-mail address of the Pancyprian Medical Association at [email protected].

All those in the above categories entering the territory of the Republic of Cyprus will remain in quarantine for 14 days after their arrival, in areas designated by the State, except for persons who were abroad for medical reasons and fall under category 1 mentioned above. These persons will remain in self-isolation in order to continue, unhindered, their medical treatment.

It is understood that upon entering the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, they will undergo a mandatory examination for the COVID-19 disease, after which the provisions of the relevant medical protocol will be followed.

Furthermore, as of 31st March 2020, at 6 a.m.:

  1. Gatherings of people at any residence are prohibited, other than of permanent residents.
  2. Any movement of persons from 9.00 p.m. until 6.00 a.m. is prohibited, except for those holding a Confirmation of Movement of an Employee certificate (Form A).
  3. The use of the certificate of a citizen’s movement in exceptional cases, in accordance with the provisions of Form B, is limited to only once a day*, after permission has been obtained by sending an SMS message to 8998. A written declaration for the movement of citizens in exceptional cases, which falls within the provisions of Form B, shall be used only by persons over 65 years of age.

* The once-a-day prohibition does not apply to visits to the pharmacy/blood donation center/doctor, to persons who cannot take care of themselves and transporting a soldier.

The following retailers will remain closed on Sundays:

1. All food and beverage retailers (e.g. supermarkets, grocery stores, butchers, fish markets, bakeries, confectioneries, fruit shops, liquor stores).

It is understood that kiosks are excluded from the ban, provided that they do not market retail products.

As of 6 a.m. on the 31st of March, the operation of the following services is also suspended:

  1. Tourist and travel agencies.
  2. Aircraft provision services, with the exception of those relating to the service of flights which are exceptionally approved by the Minister of Transport, Communications and Works as well as cargo flights.
  3. The number of persons including the driver during taxi rides, in a private cars and/or in other vehicles shall not exceed three persons.

In addition to the Minister’s decree, the following measures have also been decided:

  1. Increase in the fine from 150 euros to 300 euros.
  2. Increase of controls at check points.
  3. Utilization of neighborhood watch officers.
  4. Recommendations will be made to commercial banks to issue credit cards to beneficiaries based on their deposits and ways of protecting customers who withdraw cash from automatic cash points.
  5. In order to limit the movement of those who have been identified as positive to the coronavirus and are in self-isolation, the Ministry of Health is studying ways to impose electronic home surveillance.

MEASURES ANNOUNCED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC ON 23 MARCH 2020

→Ban on unnecessary movements from 06.00 PM of March 24, 2020 until April 13, 2020,  except:

  • Travelling to and from the workplace during working hours
  • Visit to a pharmacy, blood donation center or a doctor
  • Visit to a store to buy essential goods / services
  • Visit to a bank, provided that electronic transactions are not possible
  • Absolutely necessary visits to government services or services of the wider public sector and local government
  • Movement with the purpose of assisting people who are unable to serve or protect themselves or who are in self-confinement and / or compulsory confinement (quarantine)
  • Movement for physical activity or for the needs of a pet, alone or in a group of no more than two persons and in areas adjacent to their homes
  • Movement with the purpose of attending a ceremony (e.g. funeral, wedding, christening) of first and second degree relatives, not exceeding 10 persons
  • Movement for any other purpose which may be justified under the prohibition of movement measures

Under all circumstances, all persons moving about must carry identification and additional proof (forms/SMS) as to the purpose of their movement. Further details can be found here:

→ Furthermore, as of 6 p.m. of the 24th of March 2020 until the 13th of April 2020, the following places will also be closed:

•Parks.

•Playgrounds.

•Open-air sport spaces.

•Public gathering areas, among others, squares, dams, excursion sites, beaches, marinas.

→All retailers shall suspend their operations, except from the businesses that are included in the Decree issued by the Minister of Health (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/diat/10en.pdf)

→Open markets, bazaars and itinerant sales are prohibited.

→It is prohibited for citizens to attend places of religious worship, such as churches, mosques and other places for prayer.

→Prohibition of the custom of “lighting a bonfire” with immediate removal of timber or other materials already assembled for this purpose. The responsibility for implementing this ban lies with the local authorities in cooperation with the police.

TRAVEL ADVICE / PROHIBITION OF FLIGHTS

All flights, excluding those carrying cargo, to Larnaka and Pafos airports are prohibited, coming from the following countries:

Bahrein

Belarus 

Belgium 

Bulgaria 

Egypt

Estonia 

Germany 

Hungary 

Ireland 

Israel 

Jordan 

Latvia

Lebanon 

Lithuania 

Malta

Netherlands 

Norway Poland 

Qatar

Romania 

Russia

Serbia 

Slovakia 

Sweden

Switzerland 

Ukraine

United Kingdom 

Greece

This does not apply to persons who:

  1. Have travelled abroad for medical reasons,
  2. Are abroad for a short stay for business or professional reasons,
  3. Are allowed to enter according to the Vienna treaty.

Those who fall under the aforementioned categories must have a certification from the local diplomatic missions of the Republic of Cyprus

(https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/en/press/18032020_7.pdf ), which will be issued once the interested parties provide evidence substantiating the reasons mentioned in categories 2a and 2b (i.e. outbound ticket or a certification from the medical center where they were treated).

It is imperative that all those, falling in the aforementioned categories, who enter the territory of the Republic of Cyprus will remain in a 14-day mandatory quarantine at a location designated by the state, excluding those who have been abroad for medical reasons. These persons will be self-confined in order to be able to carry out their treatment uninterruptedly.

CROSSING POINTS

The crossing between the government-controlled and occupied areas of the Republic is allowed only for persons falling within the following categories:

  • Cypriot citizens (Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots)
  • Those who legally reside in the territory governed by the Republic of Cyprus.  EU citizens should present travel documents to certify their legal entry into the Republic and a utility bill to prove their legal residency status.  Third country nationals should present travel documents to certify legal entry and their residency permit.
  • Country nationals who are in designated diplomatic service or mission, under bilateral or international treaties, should present diplomatic ID, or, for those who  are not holders of a diplomatic ID, a non-diplomatic card or a certification from the  competent authority of the reasons of their presence in the Republic of Cyprus.

It is reminded that those who cross into the government-controlled areas of the Republic, must abide by the guidelines set by the Ministry of Health.

EDUCATION

The operation of public and private schools is suspended until the 10th of April 2020.

During the suspension of the operation of public schools, the Minister of Education and

Culture has been authorized to implement alternative methods, via technology, to respond  to educational needs and cover a part of the educational programme, for as long as schools  will be closed.

AFFECTED BUSINESSES

In accordance to a decision taken by the Council of Ministers on 15 March 2020, as of 16 March 2020, on 6 am, for a duration of four weeks, the closure of the following businesses is mandatory:

  • Shopping Malls and Department Stores,
  • Cafes, restaurants, bars and all catering companies with the exception of those that offer home delivery services,
  • Night clubs,
  • Cinemas and theatres,
  • Libraries,
  • Museums, archaeological and historical sites,
  • Gambling agencies, casinos, etc.,
  • Sports facilities, sports clubs, cultural groups and associations,
  • Theme parks (amusement parks, etc.),
  • Barber shops, hairdressers, beauty-massage centres.

As long as these businesses observe strict hygiene rules, they may carry out administrative and other operations behind closed doors.

For reasons of health safety and health of the community, the following categories of

enterprises remain open (see Decree by the Minister of Health  

  • Food retailing (e.g. supermarkets* must ensure there are no more than one person per 8 m2); •   Pharmacies
  • Private health services (clinical laboratories),
  • Bakeries and confectioneries (no table seats),
  • Gas stations, and
  • Convenience stores.

*From opening time until 10 am daily, supermarkets will exclusively cater only people who a) belong to the vulnerable groups, b) are over 60 years old and c) those with disabilities.

Retailers which do not fall under the category of suspension of their operations can continue their work by ensuring that there are no more than five workers in the workplace.

All other companies that are not mentioned in the above categories can continue to  operate, as long as they strictly adhere to the hygiene and staff protection rules.

Hotels will suspend operations until 30 April 2020. To serve existing customers, they may continue their operation for a period of six days from today (15 March).

With regard to the public service by private, public and wider public sector enterprises, it is strictly stated that the presence of persons in the service area should not exceed one person per 8 square metres.

Work on construction sites where more than three people are working simultaneously, shall be suspended as of 6am of 31 March until 6 am of 13 April 2020. This restriction does not apply to public utility projects and requests that concern urgent construction work relating to safety concerns and hazardous situations.

MANNING OF THE PUBLIC AND WIDER PUBLIC SECTOR

Necessary staff in the public service:

The public service and the wider public sector as well as persons working in the education service, for the upcoming month, as of 17/03/2020, will work as follows:

  • where possible from their own homes,
  • with security personnel for urgent matters and serving the public for emergency cases.

The essential services are excluded from the above. The Ministers will define the needs of their Ministry and their departments for the proper planning of the work.

Irrespective of the above, and with the purpose to timely and effectively implement the measures announced, the public service, the wider public sector and the education service  are obliged, if they are not called on a special duty or working from home, in case it is  required of them, to provide their services in other areas as well if they are deemed  necessary.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT / CAR RENTAL COMPANIES

The Companies that carry out regular routes, on a fare per customer basis, as well as all means of public transport, i.e. shuttle services to and from the airports, coaches, private buses, taxis (urban, rural / interurban) and car rental companies, will carry a number of passengers that equals the 30% of their vehicle capacity, rounded to the prior whole number (i.e. the number 6.35 is converted to 6).

In addition, all regular routes, on a fare per customer basis, being carried out on Sundays are cancelled as of 22 March 2020.

With regard to car rental companies, the following apply:

  • They must implement the measures announced to secure the Disinfection Certificate prior to renting the vehicle;
  • Upon delivering the rental vehicle, the customer should be thoroughly informed of the instructions issued by the Ministry of Health and of the hygiene rules that must be adopted to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

DEFENCE AND THE NATIONAL GUARD

The following measures apply:

  • Staff and soldiers who fall under the ‘vulnerable groups’ category have received  instructions to stay home.
  • All Ministry of Defence and National Guard personnel will alternate so that the necessary manning will be in place to handle operation and safety.  Those affected will be regularly updated by the superior Administrations.
  • The necessary arrangements have been made for MOD and National Guard personnel to work from home, provided that no classified information in entailed.
  • The buses transporting personnel to and from their units will operate in a 50% passenger capacity.
  • The suspension in the presentation of army reserve officers is extended until the  30th of April. Depending on the developments, there will be an update later on for  the presentations scheduled to take place after the 30th of April.
  • Compulsory reclassification in the National Guard of enlisted personnel who are suspended for medical reasons, is postponed until the 30th April 2020. There will be  an update later on as regards the arrangements to take place for the recruitment of  these persons.
  • The Health directorate of the National Guard has drawn up an action plan in which  all actions to be taken in case there is a confirmed coronavirus case in a military unit, are defined.
  • In all military areas strict hygiene measures are being implemented, in accordance to  the instructions of the Ministry of Health.
  • The public is called upon to visit the District Military Recruitment Offices only in  cases of absolute emergency and following a telephone call.

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