Cyprus soon to be Covid 19 free
This special Coronavirus in Cyprus page tells you why Cyprus will soon be Covid-19 FREE.
And why you may then want to put Cyprus at the top of your list as a 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, with the highest daily peak of 58 new cases on April 1st, the testing has been rolled out to determine how widely spread Coronavirus in Cyprus could be 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. Thankfully, to date, we have had few deaths and the hospitals have not been overwhelmed with cases.
The current death toll at April 17th is 12 and the virus is most definitely under control, despite a few hotspot flare-ups, largely in the state hospitals, especially Paphos, where one terminally ill infected patient had been visited by UK relatives who passed the virus on and subsequently to a high proportion of hospital staff.
UPDATE May 1st 2020. Total deaths now just 15 and 850 total cases. Having successfuly "contained" the coronavirus in Cyprus, the government has announced a 4 phase lockdown exit plan beginning Monday May 4th to allow a gradual reopening of the economy and allow citizens free movement again. Read the full 4 phase plan here. Flights "may" resume by July, depending on how other countries have managed to contain Covid-19
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 has been extended twice and is currently in place to the end of April, with the likelihood of it being extended further.
We are only allowed out once per day for a set number of reasons and have to get permission via SMS. Older residents can use a paper form. There is a curfew from 21.00 to 06.00 the following day, unless you are a key worker. Anyone breaking the lockdown rules and leaving home without permission is 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!
While we can walk our dogs close to home and take exercise near to our homes, we cannot go further afield to enjoy the beautiful Cyprus countryside like the Akamas peninsula. I am lucky to live in a rural area, so can still enjoy the beautiful spring flowers and marvel at the incoming migrating birds like rollers, swallows and beeaters. Those in apartments in cities do not have that luxury, so tensions are high.
But the majority of people are abiding 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 are fast getting on top of the virus.
Those wishing to be repatriated are now slowly being allowed back to the island, but have to undergo strict quarantine for 14 days and are tested for coronavirus in Cyprus on landing at Larnaca airport.
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.
Having reduced the number of daily new cases to only 5 in the last few days, the government is now looking to see when it may be able to relax some of the restriction measures. We all need a haircut!
Tourist and normal commercial flights are currently banned until the end of May, but in reality, are banned until mid June at the earliest as the doors cannot be opened while the virus is raging elsewhere in Europe.
That does mean that Cyprus can hope to be virus-free within a matter of weeks rather than months, allowing the residents to get back to some kind of normality, even though for those of us in the tourism trade, the new normal will be devoid of tourists for some time.
Update May 12th 2020 We are now in phase 1 of our lockdown exit, allowed out 3 x per day via SMS and most shops are now open, although with strict hygiene and social distancing rules. Our hairdressers reopen in Cyprus on May 21st. Hurrah! Tavernas also but outdoor eating only until June.
Pretty barn swallow - just arrived
While lockdown here in Cyprus is tough, we are lucky to have the summer approaching and, as it does, the very real possibility that we will soon be free of coronavirus on the island. The government is currently testing 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.
As anyone arriving on the island is now tested and placed into quarantine for 14 days, there should alos be minimal risk of any new cases brought onto the island from abroad.
So far, the extended testing programme has shown very few cases, indicating that Covid-19 has not widely spread into the Cyprus community. We have made sacrifces, but it's worth it, as we will soon be Coronavirus free in Cyprus.
Gorgeous pink lantana
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.