COVID19: Cyprus bans entry to non-residents as cases rise

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President Nicos Anastasiades announced Friday Cyprus would ban entry to non-residents for 15 days to prevent the spread of coronavirus as the number of cases on the island rose to 26.

From Sunday, “entry is prohibited to any citizen who does not fall into the category of Cypriot or legal resident, whether European or third-country national who works in Cyprus,” Anastasiades said in a national TV address.

He asked Cypriots abroad not to travel back to Cyprus unnecessarily.

All private and public educational institutions will remain closed until April 10.

Anastasiades said restrictions would remain on crossing points on the ceasefire line, asking Cypriots to make only “necessary trips” across the divide.

Anastasiades urged “collective responsibility” and “mutual respect” in responding to the threat of the pandemic.

“I would like to emphasize that no measure, no matter how strict will protect the whole unless individual and collective responsibility is taken unless discipline is shown but also mutual respect.”

The island has reported 26 COVID-19 cases, including 21 in the Republic and five in the north since the first two were diagnosed on Monday.

There were 11 new cases confirmed on Friday in the Republic.

The Republic of Cyprus has already banned indoor gatherings of more than 75 people, closed schools and cancelled all football games.

Cyprus has not restricted imports or exports, Anastasiades said.

“The measures do not affect the unhindered commercial activity of the country.”

“For this reason, panic is not justified.”

He said the measures taken were in line with recommendations from the European Union and the World Health Organization.

“I want to be clear: No one is above or can be excluded from abiding by what has been decided.”

I acknowledge the measures…affect and disrupt the daily life of us all. But there is no other choice.”

He also said that the government will announce a package of economic measures to support employees and employers as well as businesses facing the repercussions of the coronavirus crisis.