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Coronavirus: 31 booked, two arrested in first night of lockdown, SMS system offline (Update 1)

In total, 31 people were booked islandwide and two arrests were made in Nicosia in the first clampdown on freedom of movement which came into effect at 6pm on Tuesday.

The SMS permissions systems is offline as it crashed due to overload, it emerged on Wednesday morning.


Police said Wednesday that 250 officers were out on the streets and they had carried out checks on 200 cars and pedestrians, finding 31 violations in total. Eight violators were found in Nicosia, 10 in Limassol, one in Larnaca, 11 in Paphos and one in the government-controlled area of Morphou district.

Checks were carried out at over 3,000 premises ensuring they were closed.

In Paphos, two of the bookings involved bar owners who violated the ban. The remainder were two drivers and the rest pedestrians who were out without the required permission in various parts of the town.

Since it launched, thousands of people have complained that the new system of sending SMS to ask for permission to go out – for certain reasons – has not been working.

The public can download forms instead saying why they are out. Being out without the required papers incurs a fine of 150 euros. If granted, people can be out for three hours for trips to various categories including supermarkets and pharmacies.

According to reports in Greek Cypriot media Wednesday morning, police arrested one person in Strovolos, Nicosia, late in the evening in front of the town hall. There were two people in the vehicle who had no papers but they reportedly got into an argument and allegedly verbally abused the officers and were arrested.

Meanwhile the Deputy Minister of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy Kyriacos Kokkinos told Cybc on Wednesday morning the SMS system had crashed after 35,000 people sent requests in the space of half an hour.

He said some adjustments needed to be made and in the meantime, people should print off the forms needed to be outside.

The government, he added, would probably find three requests a day acceptable but they would need to be justified. “There is no need to make two trips to the supermarket in the same day,” he said. “They don’t need to do that, or make 20 requests a day”.


More later

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