After Spike in Cases, Cyprus Joins COVID-19 Lockdown

Αssociated Press

An elderly man wearing face mask is reflected on the glass of a closed shop as he walks along nearly deserted Ledra Street a main shopping pedestrian street in central Nicosia, Cyprus, Monday, March 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Following another 21 cases of the COVID-19 Coronavirus being reported in one day, Cyprus - with the airport already closed - shut down the country for unnecessary travel until at least April 13 to try to stop the spread of the disease.

We are truly at war, and this isn’t won by enlisting our children to give or take lives by means of arms,” Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said in an address. “It’s a war which can only be won if we batten down the hatches.”

Cyprus has reported 116 cases of coronavirus while there were 39 on the northern side occupied by Turkish-Cypriots since an unlawful invasion by Turkey in 1974, which still keeps a 35,000-strong standing army there.

Among the 21 new confirmed cases on March 23, almost double that of a day earlier, were 12 people found by tracking contacts of others already found to have the virus, reported The Financial Mirror.

Three more people are connected to the infections at Paphos General Hospital where a British patient at the Intensive Care Unit Unit got the virus and infected many more including medical staff.

Four of the cases included four people who returned to Cyprus from three European countries and after developing symptoms they got in touch with the authorities while another positive case was being investigated, the report said.

The epidemiological monitoring unit of the Ministry of Health is now tracking down the contacts of all 21 confirmed cases to get them tested. Three cases are on British military bases and five patients are on ventilators, two in critical condition, but the others in self-quarantine in their homes with lesser problems.

There has been one death, a 70-year-old British man with multiple other health problems who was infected at the Paphos hospital by another patient treated there.

The Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics has conducted approximately 3,500 COVID-19 tests until March 22, it’s Chief Executive Medical Director Leonidas Phylactou told the Cyprus News Agency.

Phylactou said that the number of samples being tested, in proportion to the population, is higher than in most countries. “We are among the first worldwide regarding the number of tests, and the tests are being conducted without any delay.”