Since Cyprus introduced restrictions on arrivals on March 21, just over 3000 people have already been repatriated, and according to the flight plan the number is set to total 4000 by April 30, Foreign Ministry spokesman Demetris Samuel said on Tuesday.
Speaking during an online discussion live streamed on the Facebook page of Global Shapers Nicosia, Samuel said that when Cyprus closed its airports, there were Cypriots and legal residents scattered in 125 countries worldwide. According to the connect2cy platform in countries such as the UK and Greece they were thousands of Cypriot citizens. There were hundreds in countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and the US and in other such as Peru, Argentina and Mozambique one or two people.
Of all who have repatriated, only about nine or ten have tested positive for coronavirus, he added.
A total of about 19,000 have registered on the connect2cy platform. About 9,000 or 10,000 have indicated they wish to be repatriated, Samuel said.
The planning will not stop until everyone who wishes to be repatriated makes it home. More than half wish to return by mid-May.
Lists for repatriation are drawn up based on the criteria provided by the decrees and based on these, flights are chartered. The same procedures apply for Cypriot citizens and permanent residents, he said.
Since April 15, when most priority groups were processed, the decisive factor in repatriation is the date of registration on the platform and the preferred date of arrival.
The crisis centre at the Foreign Ministry, which was activated at the end of February, has received more than 30,000 calls. It operates 18 to 20 hours a day, from 8 am till late depending on developments and the calls coming in, the spokesman said.
A significant part of the work now is focused on repatriating Cypriots and non-Cypriots who are permanent residents here.
This repatriation is being carried out in a gradual and managed manner and is being adapted to developments here and abroad, he added.