“There is no money” for a second lockdown

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The Minister of Finance, K. Petridis, made dramatic remarks yesterday about the situation of public finances, while addressing a harsh warning that if Cyprus enters a second lockdown, the state funds will not be able to respond to new subsidies, either to companies or to employees. .

Mr. Petridis developed the fiscal risks during the critical meeting of PD Anastasiadis with the members of the scientific team to take measures aimed at preventing the resurgence of coronavirus cases.

According to government officials present at the meeting, the minister was clearly addressing members of the epidemiological team:

“Respecting your scientific training and taking it for granted that I will respect any of your decisions to protect the health of us all, I am obliged to admit that public funds do not withstand a second lockdown.”

Members of the epidemiological team present at the meeting simply confirmed the minister’s allegations to StockWatch but declined to elaborate.

However, associates of President Anastasiadis who took part in the meeting, told StockWatch that K. Petridis specifically explained:

Revenues from last March when the first lockdown was decided have dropped dramatically and if another lockdown is imposed, then state coffers will not be able to subsidize either businesses or employees.

Petridis was warned at the same time that Cystat announced a budget deficit of € 800m in the first half, due to a significant increase in spending and declining revenues.

It is noted that Cyprus has proceeded with two debt issues since the outbreak of the pandemic last March to breathe new life into the public coffers and to withstand subsidies to support the economy.

At the gates for local lockdown

Following the sharp increase in cases due to imported asymptomatic people with a source in Limassol, Cyprus seems to be on the verge of a new lockdown, which this time, in the first stage, will have a local character.

At yesterday’s meeting of the president, suggestions were made in addition to the measures that have been decided and announced.

According to information from StockWatch, the suggestion of a targeted lockdown in the city of Limassol was presented to the PD by members of the epidemiological team, since it is currently the most dangerous outbreak of infections.

The debate prevailed over the implementation of the first package, which was already announced yesterday, and the second measure to be local and targeted lockdowns, if the measures that would take effect today do not work.

It was also suggested by members of the scientific team that the competent authorities of the Republic adopt the practice and methodology applied by the meteorological services worldwide in terms of classification of weather conditions.

Specifically, a member of the epidemiological team, suggested that depending on the extent of the cases and the trend that will develop in each province to be given a warning “red alert” “yellow alert” etc.

Professor Leontios Kostrikis – molecular virologist of the Department of Biological Sciences of the University of Cyprus and advisor to the Ministry of Health for coronavirus issues, in his statements to StockWatch called on all citizens to implement reverently, in his expression, the measures decided yesterday, otherwise stressed the infections will be uncontrollable.

“It is the only opportunity to put a brake on the resurgence of cases, especially in Limassol,” said Mr. Kostrikis.

“We are at marginal levels to impose even stricter restrictive measures”, noted from his side the professor and molecular virologist Petros Karagiannis.

He added that the numbers recorded in the last few days cause reasonable concern, explaining that they are traces of previously confirmed cases.

He noted that the “happiness” is that the cases that occurred in Limassol, “are not orphaned and are not scattered as nine of the 23 the day before yesterday came from only two accidental people.

Asked whether we are on the verge of a second lockdown, Mr. Karagiannis commented:

“I want to believe that we are not facing a second lockdown. “I estimate that we should first exhaust the measures that were decided yesterday and judge accordingly”, he noted.

“The decisive factor will be the correct health behavior of the people. “If, despite hope, the current epidemiological picture in Limassol continues, the decision for a local lockdown will be inevitable.”

Mr. Kostrikis, who was answering the same question and pointing out that when the lockdown was decided last March, the number of cases was on average single digit, explained that the main criterion of the decisions then was precisely to stop the emerging wave of coronavirus cases.

“If the very strict measures had not been taken then, the epidemiological situation in the country would have been out of control since then,” he said.

Ringing the alarm bell for what is happening in Limassol, Mr. Kostrikis explained:

He added that there are many active hotspots of the virus and we are expecting specialized data for this.

The two epidemiologists hope that if the measures are fully implemented, mainly in Limassol, then in a week we will have tangible signs of slowing down the situation.

They pointed out that the transmissibility index has increased threateningly and is close to 1.5 which means that the cases will increase.

“At least until today we find the chains of the cases and we locate their contacts for isolation”, pointed out Dr. Karagiannis.

Of Lefkos Christos