Cyprus Will Open Airports June 9, Seeks EU COVID-19 Health Aid

Αssociated Press

A woman walks by the sings on the ground reading in Greek "Keep a distance of 2 meters" at Engomi B primary school in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Thursday, May 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Still hoping for a summer tourism season with further lifting of a lockdown aimed at preventing a spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, Cyprus will reopen airports June 9 and wants to tap cheap, long-term credit lines that will be made available by the Pandemic Crisis Support fund of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM.)

Cyprus would be the first country in the Eurozone to make use of the credit lines, the newspaper Phileleftheros reporting Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides told the online talk show Science Hoaxes that “of course (we) will utilize the European Stability Mechanism for health expenditures.”

He said the government will first have to calculate health expenses already paid or set to be taken care of, such as the funds for the new intensive care unit of the Nicosia General Hospital and the tests to diagnose the coronavirus.

Cyprus has conducted more than 90,000 coronavirus tests, one of the largest per capita numbers in the world. Much of the cost of these tests has been paid for by the state.

“The purpose is to calculate (expenses) and borrow cheap liquidity from the ESM,” Petrides was quoted as saying.

Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios said that, “We expect a full containment of the virus by the end of this week which means that on June 9 we will open our airports again for business as usual and that’s very very important,” Reuters reported.

He was speaking to an online Economist conference on tourism, noting that the island’s legitimate government - Turkey has occupied the northern third since an unlawful 1974 invasion - had locked down earlier, holding down the number of the virus cases and deaths.