On Thursday, April 2, Transport Minister Yiannis Karoussos announced that the existing international flight suspension issued on Tuesday, March 21, will be extended for a 14-day period effective Saturday, April 4, amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Under the decree, exemptions are made for cargo, humanitarian, and medical flights. Non-passenger flights to transport individuals wishing to leave the country will still be permitted and flights for exceptional circumstances will need to be approved by the Minister for Transport, Communications, and Works.
As of Tuesday, March 31, Cyprus has introduced an overnight curfew. As such, individuals are prohibited from leaving their homes from 21:00 to 06:00 (local time) except for those holding a confirmation of movement form. Cyprus implemented a nationwide lockdown until Monday, April 13. The ban does not apply in specific cases such as for trips to pharmacies, supermarkets, or work. Additionally, the government has closed all public spaces and many private businesses, including parks, religious venues, retail stores, night clubs, hotels, and malls. Some restaurants continue to serve takeaway options. Anyone violating the restriction will face a EUR 300 fine.
Meanwhile, an entry ban on all foreign travelers, except for Cypriote nationals and individuals with a residence permit, remains in place since Sunday, March 15. Individuals who are authorized to enter Cyprus will need to submit a medical certificate from a doctor in the country of origin to prove that they do not have COVID-19 and will be placed under mandatory 14-day quarantine at accommodation facilities provided by the government.
As of April 2, health officials have confirmed 320 cases of the COVID-19 nationwide. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.