COVID19: Cyprus gets tough on quarantine violators

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Cyprus police have stepped up checks on people who are supposed to be in self-isolation after testing positive for coronavirus with the first cases against people violating their stay at home rule being filed.

In comments to the Cyprus News Agency, police press officer Christos Andreou said that they were asked by the Health Ministry on Monday to locate the whereabouts of four people in self-isolation, who were not responding to the Ministry’s phone calls.

Andreou said that following checks, police officers had found that one of the four, living in Nicosia was not at his home where he was supposed to be and was reported.

He explained that the police are called in when people in quarantine fail to respond to the ministry’s phone checks.

Police have been instructed to conduct random checks at the homes of people who were ordered to self-isolate for 14 days.

Authorities believe the latest spike in cases is partly due to people not remaining in self-isolation and spreading the virus as they circulate in the community.

A Limassol court fined two foreign nationals €800 each on Monday for violating quarantine rules after arriving on the island by yacht last month.

Reportedly, the two men were spotted having lunch at Limassol Marina when they should have been self-isolating on their boat.

The two men were brought before the court after their self-isolation period had ended.

Limassol Marina is thought to be the source of a cluster in the town that has seen COVID-19 infections soar recently.

Andreou said checks will also be carried out on people who are instructed to self-isolate after arriving from category C countries which are deemed the highest risk for coronavirus.

The tougher police action comes after a number of people who tested positive or were notified that they are a close contact of a known case were found to have broken their quarantine, participating in social gatherings.

One of the cases involved a woman who violated self-isolation after returning from the USA, infecting 14 other people with COVID-19.

Cyprus authorities are considering bringing charges against the woman – now being closely monitored – who attended and organised a party among other activities.

Justice Minister Emily Yiolitis said authorities are looking into whether the conduct of the woman – who travelled across the island to socially interact – warrants legal action.