The president’s televised address has received a cool reception from opposition parties who say the new measures do not go far enough.
On Friday night, President Nicos Anastasiades announced that entry to Cyprus will be allowed only to Cypriots, legal residents and non-Cypriots who work or study here. He also extended the shut down of schools until April 10 and introduced even more stringent rules on green line crossings.
Cabinet is due to meet tomorrow to discuss fiscal stimulus and support for workers affected by the outbreak. Government spokesman Kyriakos Koushos said that the possibility of new measures would also be discussed.
Commenting on the president’s televised address, ruling Disy said that the measures aiming at protecting public health and containing the spread of coronavirus were necessary and appropriate. The situation is being re-assessed on a daily basis, it added and highlighted the importance of everyone behaving in a responsible way.
But Akel, the main opposition party, said that the president’s televised address had added nothing new. It said it had expected the president to announce measures to support the economy and society.
Akel said it appreciated that the government was working on such a package but stressed that this was urgent. Emphasis should go to the tourist sector, small companies, the self-employed as well as to parents with small children obliged to stay home because schools have closed, and vulnerable groups.
“As regards the adequacy and effectiveness of the preventive measures, we understand that the specialists, the scientific community proposed other measures as well which were not adopted. In that sense, the measures announced by Mr Anastasiades are not adequate,” the party said.
Centrist Diko added its voice to the criticism saying people had expected more. In a written statement, Diko president Nicholas Papadopoulos said that the televised address was inadequate as people wanted more, both in terms of protecting public health and in supporting the economy.
Socialist Edek called for substantial economic help for companies, employees and the self-employed adding that it hoped that measures will be announced soon to support working parents now that schools have closed. It queried whether the health services are ready for a mass outbreak of the virus, whether an ICU had been set up to deal with 40 to 50 cases at the same time, are there quarantined areas so that people can be tested are suspect cases transported using a special ambulance?
The Citizens’ Alliance expressed disappointment, saying that the measures restricting entry do not place emphasis on the EU which is now the epicentre of the epidemic. The measures are inadequate and ineffective, it said adding that it had expected tougher, more targeted measures as it appears that in come cases ‘interests’ take precedence over public health.
The party also noted the absence of any measure for the thousands of Cypriot students in Greece and the UK who will be returning for the Easter holidays, given that Greece and the UK are the main ‘entry points” of cases in Cyprus and this should have sounded the alarm for the government.