Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Cyprus extends commecial flight ban until May 17; other COVID-19 restrictions remain in effect.

This alert affects Cyprus

This alert began 24 Apr 2020 15:41 GMT and is scheduled to expire 17 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-related restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Period: Through at least May 17
  • Impact: Severe travel and business disruptions

Summary
Cypriot authorities have announced that a ban on passenger flights, which was introduced March 21 to help stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), will be extended until May 17. Other restrictions related to COVID-19 are currently scheduled to expire April 30, though some or all such measures could also be extended.

A 2100-0600 curfew remains in force daily. Residents are prohibited from leaving their homes during curfew hours, with the exception of those with special permits allowing employment-related travel. Moreover, during non-curfew hours, persons over the age of 65 are restricted to exiting their homes only once a day for the purpose of performing certain essential tasks; seniors within this age group must be in possession of a special permit, which they must validate by sending a text to 8998 each time they exit their homes. Additionally, gatherings inside of residences also remain banned, with only the actual residents of the domicile in question being allowed to enter. Curfew violations are punishable by a fine of EUR 300 (USD 331).

The flight suspension does not affect cargo flights, repatriation flights or empty aircraft arriving to transport persons wishing to leave Cyprus. Additionally, all Cypriot citizens returning from abroad are subjected to a mandatory 14-day quarantine. There have been 761 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cyprus as of April 18.

Background and Analysis
The measures undertaken by the Cypriot government are similar to actions taken by other European governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
Cyprus Government: www.cyprus.gov.cy

World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int