Cyprus has low rates of Coronavirus
This special Coronavirus in Cyprus page tells you how Covid-19 has been minimised on the island.
And why you may then want to put Cyprus at the top of your list as an almost Coronavirus-free destination for your next holiday.
Cyprus identified its first case of Covid-19 on Monday March 9th. By Sunday 15th March, the country was in lockdown with the first of many decrees telling citizens to socially distance themselves and to stay at home to prevent the disease spreading. A flight ban from March 21st was also introduced, giving tourists and any Cypriot residents out of the country a week to get back home.
All non-essential businesses were given 24 hours to close (restaurants, hairdressers, beauty salons, non-food retailers, DIY shops etc) and hotels were instructed to close by March 30th at the latest, allowing existing tourists time to complete their holiday and get back home afterwards.
The government then embarked on a detailed track and trace strategy with the aim of tackling the virus on the island and, more importantly, preventing it from being brought onto the island by tourists and residents alike.
There has been a high volume of testing and, as the cases inevitably started to rise in April, with the highest daily peak of 58 new cases on April 1st, constant track and trace has been the KEY method used to contain Coronavirus in Cyprus within the community.
Cyprus is a small island with around an 800,000 population in the Republic, so intensive care beds are equally small with a maximum of approximately 50 if required. We had very few deaths in the "first wave" during spring and the hospitals were not overwhelmed with cases.
The death toll at April 17th was only 12 and the virus was most definitely under control, despite a few hotspot flare-ups, largely in the state hospitals.
UPDATE November 14th 2020. Despite a strict spring lockdown, it was inevitable that cases would rise once airports re-opened. Cyprus has been seeing new cases in triple digits for the last few weeks and a second tiered lockdown (Paphos and Limassol districts) is in place again until November 30th with all restaurants etc closed.
Current hospital admissions are around 80, deaths have increased to 38 and there have been almost 7000 confirmed cases, mainly in younger people, but sadly also in care homes which has increased the death toll.
UPDATE DEC 1st 2020. A partial-lockdown has now been extended island-wide although restrictions have been relaxed in Paphos/Limassol with most businesses like restaurants allowed to re-open. We have a curfew in place from 9pm to 5am and restaurants must close by 7pm. Otherwise shops, bars, coffee shops etc are all open with relevant health protocols in place.
FREE rapid tests are available island-wide to help identify more cases. We are hopeful that restrictions will be relaxed over Christmas, provided cases drop back to no more than 100 per day and hospitals do not get overwhelmed.
Lockdown measures to combat Coronavirus in Cyprus have been very strict and made far stricter due to a small minority refusing to self-isolate and stay at home. The lockdown was extended twice in spring and lasted over 8 weeks before restrictions were lifted.
Back in March, we were only allowed out once per day for a set number of reasons and had to get permission via SMS. There was a curfew from 21.00 to 06.00 the following day, unless you were a key worker. Anyone breaking the lockdown rules and leaving home without permission was fined €300 on the spot and in some cases sent to prison for flouting the law!
The beautiful Akamas Peninsula
Currently inaccessible due to lockdown!
We could walk our dogs close to home and take exercise near to our homes, but we couldn't go further afield to enjoy the beautiful Cyprus countryside like the Akamas peninsula. We are lucky to live in a rural area, so could still enjoy the beautiful spring flowers and marvel at the incoming migrating birds like rollers, swallows and beeaters. Those in apartments in cities did not have that luxury, so tensions remained high, more so now in November when restrictions were re-imposed.
But the majority of people abided by the rules, only going for essential trips like food shopping - where the usual 2m rules apply to get in and out of the shops - and we did get on top of the virus very quickly.
Importantly, the complete focus on track and trace has allowed the government to keep the public well informed and has embraced technology to let people know exactly where any new cases are. We are given daily updates on the number of new cases, any deaths due to Covid-19 and the origin of those new cases.
Tourist and normal commercial flights were banned until mid-June. Once airports re-opened, countries were assigned categories with most needing a negative PCR test certificate for entry.
Back in early summer, Cyprus was pretty much virus-free, allowing the residents to get back to some kind of normality, even though for those of us in the tourism trade, the new normal has been devoid of tourists for some time with numbers 85% down on last year.
Pretty barn swallow - just arrived
While lockdown here in Cyprus was and is yet again very tough, we have been lucky to have a summer almost Covid-free. Back in June. the government tested at least 20,000 in the community targeting those working in supermarkets, kiosks and other essential workers that are regularly in contact with the public.
And with most visitors requiring a negative test certificate for entry, in particular the large UK market, there has been a minimal number of new cases brought onto the island from abroad.
Gorgeous pink lantana
While we have a spike in cases right now, these should soon be controlled with the re-introduction of lockdown, so travel to Cyprus in 2021 should be safe from Covid-19 by early spring. Let's hope we can welcome everyone back to Cyprus very soon after the big second wave of Covid-19 currently raging across Europe subsides.
In the meantime, let me try to share some of the beautiful sights of Cyprus from migrating birds to simple flowers in bloom.
We hope to welcome you back to beautiful Cyprus very soon once the world has beaten Coronavirus.
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