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Tales from the Coffeeshop: Branch Covidians remain on nonsensical warpath

Corona Measures(website)

YOU HAD to laugh listening to the latest restrictions imposed by our government eager to appear to be doing something to control the spread of Covid-19. The reality is that all the violations of personal liberties it has imposed so far, including quarantines on whole districts, have proved spectacularly ineffective, as the 300 cases reported on Friday indicated.

Of course, the zealots of Branch Covidian could claim that without the measures the number of daily cases would have been 500 instead of 200 and numbers in ICUs 50 instead of 17, aware that project fear has much more impact on the population than rational arguments. And this is what the government relies on to impose more restrictions.

The random measures announced on Friday were emphatic proof the government is imposing restrictions simply for the sake of it, because this is what is being done in other countries and it could not be seen failing to be tough in the fight against the virus. So, it closed betting shops, gyms, outdoor play areas, but not cinemas, theatres and hairdressers.

All children could carry on going to school every day but they cannot engage in any afternoon sporting activity because that would spread the virus. Most of these measures would be lifted on December 14 – the curfew time will be pushed back, bars and restaurants allowed to serve people at night, betting shops reopened etc – because according to scientific evidence the virus goes on a family holiday during the festive season.

 

IF THE virus decides not to go on holiday the measures would not be lifted. This is what could be construed from comments made by Dr Petros Karayiannis, a member of the scientific advisory team, to Tass news agency on Saturday.

For there to be a relaxation of the measures, he said, the daily number of cases would have to fall to between 100 and 150 per day from the 200 to 300 they are now (310 on Friday). If they did not there was the danger of a third surge in infections by mid-January.

Everything depended on people following the rules, he said, which has become the convenient excuse of the government and all the branch Covidian zealots. When the restrictions they impose prove ineffective, it is always the fault of the unruly, irresponsible and undisciplined people who supposedly ignore them.

It is never the fault of the government and the epidemiologists for imposing measures that do not work because when it comes to dealing with the virus they are infallible.

Will hunters be able to fire at the virus in the dark?

THE STUPIDEST of the decrees is the one forcing bars and restaurants to close at 7pm, not to mention the 9pm to 5am curfew. Why did the government not have the guts to tell the hospitality industry that it cannot serve people at nights, instead of coming up with this ridiculous 7pm closing time? Has Kyproulla suddenly become Switzerland where people dine at 6pm?

Has scientific research established that the coronavirus has vampire qualities, more active at night? According to the government’s logic, you can go to a busy restaurant for lunch, but going for dinner is risky and therefore must be banned for our own protection. The night-crawling tendency of the virus is the reason the curfew will now start at 9pm.

All those people that packed the restaurants and cafés in the old part of Nicosia, around Phaneromeni church, at lunchtime last Sunday were safe because it was daytime, when the virus takes a rest, according to epidemiological data.

Given that at night your chances of contracting the virus increase geometrically, why is the government allowing hunters to break curfew and go hunting at 3am? Is it because they can shoot the virus when they see it approaching? But how would they see it in the dark?

 

STATE treasurer Rea Georgiou played the victim when she appeared before the House watchdog committee on Thursday to give answers about possible conflict of interest in the exercise of her duties. The conflict of interest was so blatant that nobody could have doubted it took place. Well, nobody apart from Georgiou, who seemed to think that using your position to help your husband did not constitute conflict of interest.

In a nutshell, the veterinary services deposited a cheque for €54,000 in the state’s bank account, because the company owned by Mrs Georgiou’s husband had failed to fulfil its contractual obligations to the government for the processing of animal byproducts.

The cheque was deposited in the morning but by lunchtime the state treasury had ordered it to withdrawn from the bank because, in the meantime the husband’s company had secured a court order, which had found itself on the desk of the state treasurer, demanding urgent action. And urgent action was taken by the vet services on instructions of the state treasurer via one of Mrs Georgiou’s minions.

Because one of her minions had dealt with the vet services, the state treasurer felt she was not involved in the matter even though he was acting on her direct instructions.

Reading a prepared statement to deputies, Mrs Georgiou said that never on her part was the slightest favour displayed towards any side. She was being unjustifiably targeted and facing a merciless attack.

Some people do not understand that using your state position to help your spouse does not constitute conflict of interest but an illustration of a loving marriage.

 

THE HOUSE meeting opened a can of worms, also rekindling the feud between former interior minister Socratis Hasikos and the untouchable auditor-general Odysseas. Hasikos mentioned that Rea and Odysseas had strong ties and that the auditor-general’s office was constantly helping out Cypra, the company owned by Mr Georgiou.

This was done by Odysseas’ second-in-command, now retired, but the suggestion was that he had the full support of his boss. Before Thursday’s meeting, perhaps to pre-empt Hasikos, Odysseas had been calling for an investigation into the state treasurer’s actions. This seemed designed to show that nobody could escape the mighty Odysseas’ purges, not even his friends.

By Friday the vindictive but morally irreproachable Odysseas had already got his own back on Hasikos, releasing a report about the issuing of passports to casino executives and their families some of whom had not even bought residences as the rules of the citizenship scheme stipulated. The implication was that Hasikos, as interior minister, had approved these citizenships. And the lesson is that someone responsible for such shabby behaviour as a minister, was unfit to criticise an auditor-general who has not only attained moral perfection but is a candidate for sainthood.

Odysseas Michaelides

ODYSSEAS’ passport investigation appeared to have sparked rage at the presidential palace. Government spokesman KK issued an extremely strong-worded announcement against the morally perfect one, accusing him of “violating provisions of the constitution, showing contempt for other institutions, while his inappropriate behaviour dealt a blow to the prestige, the credibility and independence of the institution he was appointed to serve.”

The announcement ended with a direct threat from Prez Nik, who had in the past been very gentle towards Odysseas, even when expressing objections to his actions. There seemed to have been an entente between the two, Odysseas being free to aim his poison darts at ministers as long as Nik was not messed with.

The entente must be over if KK’s unveiled warning is anything to go by. “I want to make it clear that the tolerance of the President of the Republic and the government for the populism and politicisation of an independent institution is not possible to continue,” he said. We can’t wait for the next episode.

 

THIS WAS not the only shit-stirring we witnessed in the last week. Last Sunday the former financial director of Akel Venizelos Zannetos, who ended up doing time for the Dromolaxia scam, gave an interview to Kathimerini in which he alleged that former Akel parliamentary spokesman Nicos Katsourides was the organiser of the scam, together with Nicos Lillis, who turned prosecution witness.

Only in Cyprus could the man who organised the scam, Lillis, be turned into a prosecution witness that led to the imprisonment of the men he used as his accomplices. To turn prosecution witness, Lillis had also set the condition that Katsourides was not prosecuted either, Zannetos claimed.

The story did not end there. As a way of silencing Zannetos, Lillis produced a receipt for €100,000 issued by Akel to an anonymous donor. Lillis claimed he had paid the amount in cash in 2012, after being blackmailed by his comrades to make a donation ahead of the elections. The receipt that was published in Politis had been signed by Zannetos.

This was a message to the comrades from Kats that if Zannetos carried on making allegations against him he would hit back with his own. And these would cause embarrassment to party currently posing as an anti-corruption crusader.

Kats, a shifty operator, has been suspended by the party for several years but was never expelled because he knows too much and could start talking about the deeds of the incorruptible comrades.

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