Welcome back! Thankfully we have maintained a sense of normalcy for the past few weeks. Huge thanks to the efforts of the Cyprus government and the residents! I just want the whole world to know how is Cyprus in Corona, Post Lockdown.
Corona update as of this writing: 985 cases and 18 Casualties
Early Stage of Pandemic
March 12th, 2020; I arrive at Larnaca airport and the Coronavirus pandemic just recently announce by the World Health Organization. A few protocols in place to quarantine passengers coming from China, Hongkong, South Korea, and other select countries.
That morning, Cyprus has less than ten cases and I smoothly exited from the airport. Fortunately, I’m just in the nick of time to travel before the whole world shuts down.
Day after the day, the cases rise exponentially, left all of us baffling of the string of events and the statistics; it is scary, confusing, and uncertain. After a day or two from my arrival starts the mandatory quarantine of all passengers. On the 21st of March, all flights shut down in Cyprus.
To be sure, I opt for home isolation for 14 days; since coming from a long haul flight from Southeast Asia with a six-hour layover in the middle east.
How did Cyprus manage this pandemic?
Cyprus’ Lock down Exit Timeline
Draconian Measures: Lock down in force
– Banned movement only for essential purposes.
– Sending of SMS details before stepping outside.
– Curfew from 6PM to 6AM
– Violators fine, EUR 150
– Closure of public places, stores, malls, construction sites, private and public offices schools, churches and mosques
– Lock down until 30th April, 2020
Reopening – Phase I
May 4 – 20, 2020
– Permitted movements: up to three SMS per day.
– Curfew from 10am to 6am
– Construction companies and related business;
retail trade, except commercial centers and big department stores.
– Flee markets, street vendors and bazaars can open for business
– Offices resume except for vulnerable groups
– Religious activities limited to 10 persons
Reopening – Phase II
May 21 – June 8, 2020
– Lifting of restrictions of movement; no more SMS
– Allowed visits to parks, playground, marina, squares; no more 10 persons at a time
– Opening of cafes, restaurants for outside seating only
– Hairdressers, salons, tattoo and massage shops
– Primary schools resumes
– Opening of organized beaches
– Public libraries, museums, archaeological, and historical sites
Reopening – Phase II
June 9 – July 13, 2020
– Revival of Tourism in different stages; arriving countries are categorized
– Sea ports
– Shopping malls, hotels,
open air cinema
– Restaurants and cafe with indoor seating
– Kindergarten resumes
Reopening – Phase II
July 14, 2020 & onwards
– Indoor theaters
– Indoor playground
The framework of the lockdown exit is based on the advice of the scientific team and together with the government form an effective strategy. Guidelines are set up in every sector for the reopening, all of a sudden there are new normals to observe. In conclusion, the politicians listened to experts.
- Sending SMS per movement. Prior to going outside, we must obtain approval from the government by sending our details via SMS. This controls the movement of residents and helps in contact tracing.
- Essential Movements. These are trips to supermarkets, pharmacies, doctor appointments, and other related purposes.
- Vulnerable groups. The seniors who are above 60 years old and those with health conditions are only allowed to shop from opening time till 10 AM only. If you don’t belong to this group, you have to wait after 10 AM.
- Repatriation flights. During lockdown, repatriation flights are servicing stranded passengers in Cyprus and for Cypriots who wish to return home. Accordingly, a 14-day quarantine is mandatory for returning passengers in government facilities.
- Revival of Tourism. Following the lockdown exit plans, Larnaca airport welcomes travelers from countries based on the epidemiological data of these countries. As per the travel advice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as of June 12, 2020, countries are categorized: “Categories A (Malta, Greece, Bulgaria, Norway, Austria, Finland, Slovenia, Hungary, Denmark, Germany, Slovakia, Lithuania, Croatia, Estonia, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Latvia, Luxembourg) and B (Israel, Poland, Romania).” Updates are on the government portal website.
Imagining how the world will be after the pandemic is full of uncertainty. Seems like things will never be the same. Throughout lockdown, I’m thinking how does my life resume outdoors? Can I still enjoy the beach, parks, flea markets, and attend festivities? Can I still go shopping in physical stores? And can I still travel? How will I see my family and loved ones from the other side of the world? It is pretty strange asking all these questions.
Now that situation is controlled, how sweet it is to reclaim freedom once again. Going outside really boosts one’s morale. You can’t just remain locked up for so long! I understand how difficult it is to cope every single day, but this is the sacrifice we have to make to stop the transmission of the virus. Herd immunity does not work in all communities.
Sanitizing every time is already now a habit and I am getting a hang of managing social distancing. The visual marks flash like a warning and the staffs are quick to alert you for nonconformance. Also, a PA system repeatedly blasts the dos and don’ts, hence anyone can get accustom to all these new guidelines.
In spite of some apprehensions of what the future holds for the rest of the world, for now, I feel safe and optimistic that this pandemic will take a positive turn with proper management.
The opening of borders may trigger another wave of transmission, God forbid! This is one of my concerns and is it too soon? Currently, we are now receiving some flights in the past days, and so far cases are in control.
There is no room for complacency. It only takes a single person to spread the virus again. I remain hopeful that all protocols are strictly enforced at all levels.
Troodos mountain is usually filled tourists all year round, however, it feels a little bit somber as cafes and restaurants are empty.
Cyprus is slowly opening to the world and so does the rest of the EU in different timetables. If you are residing in Europe, you can start traveling with caution. Yes, there is always a sense of fear, some will wait for the availability of the vaccine before going anywhere. As for me, I think I can commence to travel soon with extreme caution. I will choose destination countries that demonstrate safety and confidence to all travelers.
Albeit the gradual restart of tourism, about 10% of the hotels have opened since the 9th of June with a very low occupancy. With UK and Russia as the main tourist market here and currently both are struggling to flatten the curve; it is still unknown when doors will open for them. Tourism may take time to revive and this worries the continual adverse effects of the economy.
For the time being, I am glad that we are back to our norms whilst with precaution. I hope that all other nations will slowly achieve this position and revive what has been affected.
Welcome back, everyone! Cyprus is still in coronavirus period, easing smoothly post lockdown.
Will you be visiting Cyprus soon? Or traveling somewhere perhaps?
How are you doing? Let us know your situation at this moment.