President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have agreed to convene the bicommunal technical committee on health on Monday to discuss ways to avert an outbreak of coronavirus in Cyprus.
The decision was taken during a telephone exchange between the two leaders on Friday with Akinci expressing his concern about risks of coronavirus and the need for cooperation for joint measures to prevent such an eventuality, a statement from the presidency said.
The committee will meet at the Ledra Palace at 6 pm on Monday. The two leaders, who are due to attend a meeting of the bicommunal technical committee on culture at the same venue at 7.30 pm, will attend the health committee meeting to be briefed on the optimal ways of cooperation and the measures that should be taken to provide the best possible protection to Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
Meanwhile, the Cyprus Foreign Ministry has issued a a new travel advisory saying all but essential travel to China should be avoided.
And in the wake of the World Health Organisation declaring a global emergency over the coronavirus outbreak, the Health Services have updated their advice. They have also denied rumours that a case has been reported in Cyprus.
So far nearly 10,000 cases have been recorded, the vast majority in China where there have been 213 deaths. However ast least 111 cases have so far been reported in 20 other countries including France, Germany, Italy, Finland and the UK.
The Health Services noted that the virus can be transmitted from person to person. It gave the following advice:
- Wash hands often for minimum 20 seconds using hot water and soap. If not available, use an antiseptic containing alcohol
- Help young children to do the same
- Cover the mouth and nose with a tissue or own sleeve (not with hands) when coughing or sneezing. When using a tissue, dispose of it immediately and wash hands
- Avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth with dirty hands
- Avoid close contacts such as kissing, sharing cutlery or other household utensils with people who are ill
- Clean kitchen surfaces, handles, doors and children’s toys regularly
Advice to visitors to areas in China with reported cases.
- Avoid contact with animals (dead or alive)
- Avoid buying animals or animal products (like raw meat)
- Avoid contact with patients, especially ones with fever, cough, or trouble breathing
- Keep up with updates of the situation in the area and seek medical help if you exhibit any symptoms such as coughing, temperature, difficulty in breathing and avoid further travel
- On your return from a trip to China and especially from the town of Wuhan monitor your health for 14 days
- If any symptoms such as fever or breathing difficulties appear, remain at home, seek medical care and report your trip to your personal doctor or the Health Ministry’s infectious diseases unit on telephones 22605601, 22605659 or round the clock on 22887171.
The public health services in coordination with other departments have taken the following measures in line with recommendations of the WHO and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
- Increased monitoring at ports of entry (ports, airports, checkpoints)
- Instructions to health professionals to quickly identify and isolated suspicious cases
- Protocols to transfer suspicious cases by ambulance to a predetermined health centre
- Protocols to identify and deal with suspicious cases
- Instructions to avoid the transfer/spread at health centres
- Protocols to investigate close contacts of suspicious/confirmed casesIssue
- Issue of information leaflets and instructions for the public and travellers
- Activating the task force by the infectious diseased unit which monitors the issue daily
In its travel advisory the Foreign Ministry said travel to China should be avoided unless esssential.
Cypriot citizens who intend to travel to China are advised to avoid trips to Hubei and non-essential trips to the rest of the country.
As from January 27, all tourist trips within China as well as from China abroad have been postponed and a number of airlines are cancelling flights to China.
Cypriot citizens are urged to be careful and to contact the embassy in Beijing to register so as to be kept abreast of developments. They are also advised to follow local and international media on developments and comply with instructions of the Chinese authorities.
All public transport within Hubein district and all buses, trains and flights from there to the rest of China have been suspended. Incidents of coronavirus have been reported everywhere in China, including Hong Kong and Macau, the ministry added. Taiwan has also confirmed cases.
In case of emergency Cypriot citizens can contact the following telephones and/or visit the website www.oikade.gov.cy to register their data if they wish, if they are abroad.
Embassy of Cyprus:
2-13-2, Ta Yuan Diplomatic Office Bldg.
14 Liang Ma He Nan Lu
Peoples Republic of China
Tel.: +861065325057, +861065325059, + 86 10 65 32 70 57, + 86 10 65 32 70 56
Telefax: + 86 10 65 32 42 44
Email: [email protected]
09:00 – 17:00 (Monday=Friday)
Foreign Ministry official on call (for emergencies out of office hours)
+35 7 99660129
Foreign Ministry crisis unit
+35 7 22801000 (24/7)
Foreign Ministry consular affairs unit:
+35 7 22651113 (07:30/08:30 – 15:00/16:00, Monday-Friday)