Cyprus Mail

Foreign ministry urges Cypriots living abroad not to panic over coronavirus (Updated)

The foreign ministry

There is no reason for Cypriots residing or traveling abroad to panic over the spread of the coronavirus, the foreign ministry’s director for Schengen, consular affairs and crisis management, Demetris Hadjiargyrou said on Wednesday.

Commenting on developments regarding the spread of the virus, he said Cypriots abroad have been urged to register their details with the ministry online but said that the response has been limited so far. Only 20 people have registered their contact details at Oikade, the ministry’s dedicated website, Hadjiargyrou told CNA.

On February 24 the ministry issued a travel advisory, urging Cypriots to avoid unnecessary travel to Italy’s Lombardy and Veneto regions, as well as to South Korea’s Gyeongsang District. Hadjiargyrou said that there was no reason for Cypriots who are in Italy to panic. There is no information about Cypriots being currently in South Korea.

Italy’s ambassador to Nicosia, Andrea Cavallari, on Wednesday also said there was no reason to panic over the coronavirus cases confirmed in his country.

Kavallari said the situation was under control while the condition of the majority of those diagnosed with Covid 19 was good. He added that some of those infected have already completed the quarantine period and are considered safe.

He gave reassurances that Italian authorities were alert and fully cooperating with the other EU members states, especially the neighbouring ones.

He said that his country fully understood the preventive measures Cypriot authorities are taking for those arriving from Italy’s Lombardy and Veneto regions.

“We consider these measures appropriate and according to the situation. We hope that they will soon be lifted but they are currently aligned with our own measures in Italy,” he said.

Hadjiargyrou also said that the foreign ministry received no information from the embassies about any cases of Cypriot citizens who came in direct contact with confirmed cases of coronavirus or who are residing in areas placed under quarantine.

According to Hadjiargyrou, there are one or two cases of Cypriots in Italy who contacted the embassy there and were urged to return to Cyprus. A group of pupils visiting Milan, as part of Erasmus+ program, is expected to return to Cyprus later in the afternoon.

Asked about people’s interest in registering their details at he said it had been limited so far. “There are 20 people who had registered before” he said. The Crisis Management Director explained that the foreign ministry wanted to know the number of Cypriots residing or travelling abroad at any given time in case there is a need for an emergency evacuation.

He said the department is following developments closely and did not preclude additional travel advisory due to the spread of the coronavirus, although no such decision has been taken yet.

The Crisis Management Department is in constant contact with the European Commission and receives daily updates about the situation, Hadjiargyrou said and urged people travelling or residing abroad to follow the news and heed the instructions of local authorities.


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