Cyprus Reviewing Coronavirus Protocols, Issues Italy Advisory

(Photo by Eurokinissi, file)

NICOSIA – After a scare over two Chinese nationals returning to the island and taken to a hospital to be checked for the coronavirus, Cyprus Health Minister Costas Ioannou called a meeting to go over how to handle any possible cases.

The government, said in-Cyprus also told Cypriots traveling to Italy, where there has been an outbreak to follow the advice of health authorities and officials there as the scare is cutting into events and public gatherings in top tourist destinations, including Venice.

The European Union, however, said it’s not yet considering suspending travel within the border-free Schengen area where citizens have access without passports despite the growing anxiety in Italy where four people died and about 150 cases were reported.

In a message on Twitter, Cyprus’ embassy in Italy said travel to and from the following municipalities in northern Italy has been prohibited: Vo’ Euganeo, Codogno, Castiglione d’Adda, Casalpusterlengo,Fombio, Maleo,Somaglia, Bertonico,Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo, San Fiorano.

Cypriot Health Minister Costas Ioannou said that the protocols being implemented in Cyprus based on the instructions of the World Health Organisation and the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) will be reviewed, the news site said.

Asked about the Italian scare, he said Cyprus was following the advice of WHO and ECDC, which haven’t revised instructions or warnings about travelers from Italy, South Korea — which has even more incidents than Italy, or from Iran, which has also recorded deaths.

“It is not just Italy and it is not a question of how close the countries are but whether we have travellers from these countries,” he said before a scheduled Feb. 25 meeting with the country’s Epidemiological Surveillance Unit.

He said a woman who tested negative for coronavirus after arriving at Larnaca airport on board a private airplane from Israel was still put in quarantine for 14 days in line as a high risk because she was in contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus prior to coming to Cyprus.

Earlier, there was a scare over two Chinese nationals returning to the island and taken to a hospital to be checked for the coronavirus leading residents outside Cyprus’ capital to object to plans to set up a quarantine facility there.