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March 15, 2020
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Coronavirus: Cyprus New Emergency Measures

On 15 March 2020 the President of the Republic of Cyprus Mr Nicos Anastasiades announced a ‘state of emergency’ and additional measures, as part of the nation’s strategy and efforts to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus outbreak to individuals, families and businesses.

The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 has created a shocking socio-economic impact and continues to spread rapidly. President Anastasiades stated that “Our top priority is the protection of the public health of our fellow citizens, while ensuring the economic survival of the working people, small and medium-sized businesses and the vulnerable groups of the population.”

CYPRUS EMERGENCY AND SUPPORT MEASURES

Immigration

Since 13 March 2020 entry in the Republic of Cyprus is permitted only to the following persons:

  • Cypriot citizens
  • legal residents of the Republic of Cyprus
  • EU nationals or nationals of third countries who work in the Republic of Cyprus
  • Nationals of countries who are in a designated diplomatic service or mission under bilateral or international conventions
  • Special cases of EU or third country nationals who have unavoidable professional obligations, subject to securing the requisite permission from the competent Ministry
  • EU or third country nationals who study at educational institutions in the Republic of Cyprus

Moreover, any person arriving in Cyprus (subject to applicable must present a medical certificate issued by a certified body from the country of origin issued within the last four days.

Further measures apply as regards crossing points between the government controlled and occupied areas.

Suspension of private businesses

Private businesses’ operations have been suspended save for priority services including supermarkets, petrol stations, pharmacies and private health services. Whereas the public service will operate on safety basis staff and with remote work where feasible as of 17 March 2020.

Healthcare

Healthcare services may receive injection of up to EUR100mln for support to combat the pandemic in the event necessary, which will be utilised as follows:

  • employment of additional medical staff, and thus an effective and efficient response to the outbreak
  • enhancement in equipment and infrastructure
  • support of the Institute of Neurology and Genetics in terms of human resources and infrastructure
  • support of the Ambulance service

Economy

  • EUR700mln support package for companies and workers.
  • Suspension of additional contributions to the GESY (National Health Scheme) that were forthcoming
  • VAT subject to reduction to 17% (from 19%) for two months upon approval
  • Suspension of VAT payments obligation for companies for two months
  • Postponement for two months of obligation to submit tax returns under deadline of 31 March 2020
  • Support scheme to companies subject to the announcement of 15 March 2020
  • Unemployment benefit subject to operation of company
  • Support for the tourism industry
  • Students who remain abroad will receive EUR750 allowance
  • Price ceiling on products such as disinfectants, masks, soaps and antibacterial gels

Education

Public and private schools are closed until 10 April 2020. Four weeks ‘special’ leave subject to income and remote working restrictions has been granted to parents who work in the private sector and have children up to fifteen years of age. This leave will be granted to only one of two parents, not simultaneously, nd provided that they cannot work remotely from home or under flexible work times.

Banking

The European Central Bank has already studied the measures required to support banking facilities. In the framework of the new measures, the Cyprus financial institutions will have the possibility for finance on substantially reaosnable terms. The measures decided by the ECB concern among other things the release of capital reserves estimated for Cypriot systemic banks from the Cyprus Central Bank beyond EUR1.3tln. In addition, the CCB is examining further measures of local reach that will be announced in due course.

How to protect individuals, families and businesses

On 11 March 2020 the World Health Organisation classified the coronavirus disease as a pandemic. It is still extremely difficult to accurately evaluate its full impact and the precautionary measures, including national emergencies and lockdowns, being implemented by governments and authorities worldwide. It is of utmost importance however to maintain our individual and collective responsibility in line with the measures put in place and to join our efforts to help those in need.  Particularly the young and healthy should support the most vulnerable groups, including older persons and persons with pre-existing medical conditions.

Entrepreneurs, directors and management teams must set the overall operational strategy to combat the effects of the virus. They must consider their businesses’ supply chain and, if not already, contact their suppliers and enquire about their risk exposure and contingency plans, in case of supply disruptions. The impact will be significantly different according to the industry or sector concerned. For instance, a substantially harder hit should be further expected particularly in the foreseeable future by businesses in the tourism, leisure, accommodation, and food and beverages sectors.

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