Major General Robert J. Thomson, Commander of the British Forces in Cyprus told in-Cyprus that the British Bases are in step with the Republic of Cyprus’ measures to contain Covid-19 and that they are in close cooperation “to go through this together”.
A lockdown is in force in the Republic of Cyprus since 6pm yesterday and you said you would also implement the measures. Have you disseminated information in the community? Are people complying?
Yes, people have stayed home. We have given instructions and things are smooth so far.
Could you give me a view of how suspect cases are being treated? I understand that you are working with the Cyprus Institute of Neurology for the results?
We take samples here and we send them out to the Institute for testing. We’ve had 146 tests come out negative and are waiting for another 129 to come back. All results we received since last Thursday were negative.
Where are the three cases that came out positive in the Bases?
The two British Forces members found positive on the 15th March and one family member of a British Forces staff on the 19th March are in self-isolation and only present mild symptoms, like going through a mild flu.
The Republic of Cyprus has put in place a two-week travel ban. Are you in step with that measure too?
We have very strict rules for anyone coming in, we have greatly reduced the number of people flying through Akrotiri airport and it’s mostly the staff’s families, as we believe it’s important for people to be with their families at this time. But anyone coming in goes straight into 14 day quarantine and cannot leave their homes before that is over. We leave food and other necessities at their door during the isolation.
Are people generally complying with the measures? Do they understand the gravity of the situation? Do you have patrols out?
It’s a military administration here, people are used to obeying orders so yes, people have stayed home and units are out helping people and giving them instructions.
He concluded by thanking everyone from the Cyprus government for the collaboration so far, and added that they would continue to work closely as the situation progresses, mentioning that he would participate in a video conference with the Cypriot Foreign Minister on Thursday.