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COVID19: Ex-Premier League star applauds Cyprus

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Ex-Premier League footballer and Pafos FC star Jason Puncheon has praised Cyprus for the way it has handled the coronavirus pandemic saying he feels entirely safe with his family.

Former Crystal Palace and Southampton player Puncheon swapped Selhurst Park and the Premier League for Cyprus last summer, to join top-flight club Pafos FC.

The Covid-19 crisis cut him off from loved ones back in South London, where the pandemic has hit hard, The Sun reported.

Puncheon, 33, said: “It’s obviously a concern back home because I’ve got a lot of family. I just have to hope my mum and the rest of the family are following the right protocols to stay safe.”

“I haven’t seen my mum since December — she was supposed to come out here and the lockdown meant she hasn’t been able to.

“I haven’t seen my sister, luckily my brother came out just before it happened.

“The one thing I will say is that here in Cyprus, the way they have done it, you are in a safe place.

“The population is not as big so to go to the supermarket you haven’t got to meet as many people, the way they have done it in terms of the parameters to leave the house is good.

“It’s a text message where you are allowed to leave the house once every day, which is brilliant.

“You send a text to the government and they send one back to say you can leave and that you have a limited amount of time. So, you can’t send the message at ten and then still be out at six.

“And the police are out there everywhere checking. I literally drive down the end of the road and they are there.”

Maths and Greek

Puncheon usually has it all worked out on the pitch — but is now getting used to life as a maths teacher.

He is at home with his partner and their four kids aged between five and 17 years old.

“It does take its toll on the children and the parents — my missus especially is sat there all day trying to teach them and they are learning by a screen so it’s difficult.

“They are all in the house all day every day. The one thing I will say is there is a garden and swimming pool here so we can take the time out for breaks, which is good.

“When I first came out to Cyprus it was something I was really looking forward to and, to be honest, it’s more than I expected both on and off the pitch.

“The standard of football is better than I expected. It’s hard to put a level on it, but it’s like a good standard English league.

“The good thing is here, there is quite a big expat community, which on one hand has been good but on the other, it’s not so good because I’m trying to learn the language.

“I’ve been working on it and am picking it up a little bit — but everyone speaks in English at the football club as well.

“That’s the only negative, and it’s not a bad one.

“But I wanted to learn the language as best I could, and everyone keeps speaking English!

“In terms of my family, my missus and the children, it’s been great.” (source The Sun)