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Cyprus bans entry of non-residents over coronavirus threats

/ 05:09 AM March 14, 2020

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, center, shakes hands with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, left, and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, right, at the United Nations headquarters in this file photo taken on June 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

CYPRUS — Cyprus announced Friday that the country would ban entry to non-residents for 15 days to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)  on the Mediterranean island.

From Sunday, “entry is prohibited to any citizen who does not fall into the category of Cypriot or legal resident, whether European or a third-country national who works in Cyprus,” Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said on national television.

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He asked Cypriots abroad not to travel back to Cyprus unnecessarily.

All private and public educational institutions will remain closed until April 10.

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Anastasiades said restrictions at crossing points on the divided island’s ceasefire line would remain in place, asking Cypriots only to cross for “necessary trips.”

The island is divided between areas controlled by EU member state the Republic of Cyprus and the northern third controlled by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognised only by Ankara.

In total they have reported 19 COVID-19 cases, including five in the north.

Anastasiades called for “collective responsibility” and “mutual respect” in responding to the threat of the pandemic.

The Republic of Cyprus has already banned indoor gatherings of more than 75 people.

Cyprus has not restricted imports or exports, Anastasiades said.

“The measures do not affect the unhindered commercial activity of the country,” he said. “For this reason, panic is not justified.”

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The holiday island is heavily dependent on tourism, welcoming millions of visitors per year.

Anastasiades said the measures taken were in line with recommendations from the European Union and the World Health Organization.

Edited by JPV

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TAGS: Coronavirus, COVID-19, Cyprus, pandemic, Tourists, travelers, visitors
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