Turkey will impose a weekday curfew and a full lockdown at weekends to combat the spread of the coronavirus, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday, after new cases and deaths hit record highs.
Citizens will not be allowed to leave home between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. on weekdays or at all at weekends, Erdogan said.
Some sectors, including supply chains and production, will be exempt from the measures which will begin on Tuesday, he said.
“We are taking steps carefully not to turn the health crisis into a full-blown economic and social crisis,” Erdogan said.
He said transmission in homes had increased and asked people to stop hosting guests until the risk decreases.
Turkey recorded 31,219 cases on Monday, data from the Health Ministry showed, placing it fourth globally as the highest number of daily new cases. It remains behind the United States, India and Brazil – all countries with far larger populations than Turkey.
For four months, Turkey reported symptomatic cases, but since Wednesday it has reported all cases. Historical data for the total number of cases is not yet available.
The death toll has hit record highs for eight consecutive days, with 188 recorded in the last 24 hours on Monday, data showed, raising the total since the beginning of the pandemic to 13,746.
Turkey has signed a contract to buy 50 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd.
Erdogan said Turkey would begin vaccinations in December and prioritise health workers.
The 12th round of fixtures in the Cyprus First Division concluded on Monday night, with Omonia continuing to misfire in a home 0-0 stalemate against Ermis.
The late kick-off (8pm) sees AEK away to Ethnikos Achnas.
The health ministry announced on Monday the death of a 72-year-old man and 182 new cases of coronavirus out of 2,461 PCR tests.
The man had underlying health conditions but died of the virus.
The new cases included 79 PCR verifications of rapid test results from previous days.
Larnaca-Famagusta Criminal Court on Monday handed down a five and a half year jail sentence to a 38 year old man after finding him guilty of possessing nearly three kilos of cannabis.
In a separate case, the same court jailed a second man, also 38, for four and a half years after he was found guilty of possessing more than one kilo of cannabis.
Anti-narcotics police had discovered the three kilos of cannabis during an operation in the Famagusta district on November 10, 2019. They made two arrests – of the defendant and of a 23-year old who was jailed for three years in May.
The defendant in the second case was arrested in the Larnaca district on August 26 during an operation when police seized more than one kilos of cannabis that they found in his car.
By Abi Jackson
Feeling a little tense at the thought of Christmas? It’s ‘meant’ to be fun but the festive season can bring a lot of pressure, especially when it comes to family politics, trying to please everybody and spending money you really don’t have.
Many people have lost jobs or seen their income massively squeezed this year while their anxiety levels have soared, and the last thing anyone needs is a whacking great credit card bill and even more stress to add to the mix.
Yes, it’s been a humdinger of a tough year, and yes we could all do with a lovely Christmas – but that doesn’t have to mean being suffocated by pressure to spend your time and money in ways that really aren’t going to do your health and happiness any favours.
This year, perhaps what we really need is to give ourselves the gift of guilt-free joy. Give your overdraft and stress levels a break. After all, many of the best things about Christmas don’t cost very much really…
Struggled to remember which day it is for most of 2020? I bet you anything though, you’ll remember the lyrics to all those classic Christmas songs, even the ones you haven’t heard since 1989. Pop an Ultimate Christmas Hits album on and the world becomes instantly more dazzling and bright – like the star of Bethlehem in ditty form. Christmas kitchen karaoke, anyone?
Not the endless roster of social drinks (most of those will be cancelled this year anyway). I mean the actual things you drink at Christmas. I don’t really like Bailey’s. From mid-January through to mid-December, you’d never catch me drinking anything sweet and creamy. But come Christmas – couple of ice-cubes, double shot of the Irish cream liqueur and I’m happy as Larry. Tradition works in mysterious ways, and it’s oddly fun.
A Christmas walk is just different. Maybe it’s all that love and good cheer in the air. Or maybe, really, it’s because Christmas walks are extra high on smug factor – and we all love feeling smug.
Prising your arm out of the Quality Street tub for an hour or so to get outdoors for some fresh air definitely counts as a smug-worthy accomplishment. Check out those rosy cheeks, eh. (Just don’t get too cocky and attempt any star jumps in the snow, then spend the rest of Christmas on an orthopaedic ward… not my finest festive moment.)
The best Christmas movies are the ones you’ve seen a million times before, and preferably ones where families are doing awful things – like forgetting a child at home when they jet off on holiday, or blowing up the house because they got carried away with the roof lights. Nothing says Christmas like a good reminder of how troublesome families really are. (Oh calm down, they always make up and have a soppy moment at the end.)
Christmas food comas
The twisted, masochistic joy of a Christmas food coma… There’s always a few tense minutes where you think you might actually burst after speed-eating 48 roast potatoes, but once the palpitations have eased off, you know you’ll get through it, so long as you spend the next few hours horizontal (although god help us all when the sprouts make it through your system). At least this year we’re already fully on board with elasticated waistbands.
By Lisa Salmon
With many shops closed as Christmas gets nearer, more parents than ever are expected to buy their children’s presents online.
But while toys sold in the EU have to meet important safety standards to be sold, toys offered on online marketplaces may not meet those standards and could pose a danger to children without parents realising, warns Britain’s Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT).
Over the past year, tests by the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) have found 86 per cent of the toys bought from online marketplaces were illegal to sell in the UK as they failed to comply with UK toy safety requirements, and 60 per cent were unsafe for children to play with.
“When using online marketplaces, be more cautious with third party sellers and use tips for staying safe, so your children enjoy the gift of safe play,” advises Natasha Crookes of the BTHA.
And Katrina Phillips, chief executive of CAPT, adds: “With pandemic restrictions and financial pressures, many parents are heading online to buy toys this year. But some toys sold through online marketplaces don’t meet UK safety standards, and as a result, some children have been very badly hurt.
“So we’re encouraging parents to understand the danger signs to look out for if they’re shopping for toys on an online marketplace. We want to help families shop safely and keep dangerous toys out of their homes this Christmas.”
- Watch out for small loose parts
Be wary of toys which don’t meet safety standards and contain small or loose parts, small magnets, button batteries, or long cords, as they can cause serious injury to children. Small button batteries may be swallowed by young children and burn a hole through their oesophagus lining; small magnets, which may be included in magnetic building block toys, for example, can be so strong they can burn through the gut if a child swallows them; long cords could strangle a child; small, loose parts can choke or suffocate a child.
- High chemical levels
CAPT says some toys, like counterfeit plastic crying dolls, even contain dangerous levels of chemicals. Obviously, such high chemical content isn’t something parents can detect with the naked eye, which is why they should only buy toys which meet safety standards.
- Be aware of where you’re buying from
Don’t forget online marketplaces feature lots of different traders on one platform – you may be buying from a seller based in a part of the world where safety standards for toys are very different. If a company is based outside the UK or EU, the toys may not necessarily comply with safety standards. Some sites have a ‘Sold by’ link where you can check the seller’s address.
- Don’t just assume a toy is safe
Remember online marketplaces aren’t responsible for the safety of all the products they sell, warns CAPT, and Phillips stresses: “This means you can’t rely on them to make sure the toy you buy won’t hurt your child.”
- Choose reputable retailers
If your budget can stretch to it, head to reputable retailers online, or the websites of well-known brand names. Another option could be to include the brand name in your toy search on online marketplaces.
- Beware bargain prices
“If a price seems too good to be true, sadly it probably is,” warns Phillips. It costs toy-makers money to make toys safe, so if the price is far less than for other similar toys, try to find something you can be more sure about, she advises.
- Age suitability is important
Babies and toddlers put nearly everything in their mouths, which is why toys not designed for this age group need to state ‘not suitable for under 3s’ or have a warning symbol. Under 3s may choke on small parts or loose hair, so be wary of toys which feature small or loose parts and have no age warning.
- Look out for contradictions
If there’s contradictory information about the toy, for example it’s described as a toddler’s toy but the blurb says not suitable for under 12s, or the photo of the child doesn’t match the age warning, think again.
- Beware bad English
Look for grammar or spelling mistakes in toy descriptions. “Bad English doesn’t mean it’s a dangerous toy but it’s a signal to look a bit more closely,” warns Phillips.
- Be wary of glowing reviews
If reviews sound like they’re straight off a toy’s leaflet or are all a bit similar and/or were written very closely together, they could be fake.
- Look for the CE mark
The CE mark or the Lion Mark on toys is to show toys have been made to proper standards. But they can be faked so, if you have serious concerns about the toy, don’t rely on these alone.
- Keep an eye on the toy
If you’re worried about a toy you’ve bought for your child or that they’ve been given, try to keep a close eye on your child when they open it and play with it. “You can use the usual chaos of Christmas morning to subtly make it disappear until you can check it out more closely,” suggests Phillips.
Covid-19 may mean Christmas looks very different this year, but there’s a lot to be grateful for. Here’s what this famous lot are looking forward to.
WHAT WILL CHRISTMAS MEAN TO YOU THIS YEAR?
Jason Manford, comedian
“We’ve had a year of eating, and playing games, and watching TV (already) so I think it’ll be slightly different in that respect!
“It’ll be a smaller year; I’ve said to the kids already, ‘Look, we’re not going to be going mad this Christmas on presents’. I told them that Santa’s elves are furloughed, Santa’s going to be struggling a bit this year because he’s obviously in a vulnerable category, and with his reindeers, that breaks the rule of six. There’s a lot going on.”
James Martin, TV chef
“Christmas is not going to be the same, but you can make it special – everybody’s on the internet now. I’ve made sure my mother has got a good signal there and made sure she’s got the ability to have those conversations (virtually).
“Conversation is the most important thing, I think. I phone my mother nearly every day really – and if I don’t phone her, she phones me.”
Kirstie Allsopp, TV presenter
“If you want to spend the day in your pyjamas and order pizza, then spend the day in your pyjamas and order pizza, because this is hopefully – God willing – going to be a unique Christmas. Make Covid-19 a positive excuse for perhaps doing the Christmas you’ve always wanted to do. Don’t be a Christmas martyr!”
Si King and Dave Myers, TV presenters (aka The Hairy Bikers)
S: “Well, guess what – I’m going to be a grandfather! I don’t know what I’m going to be doing this Christmas; I’m just going to have the engine running as soon as I hear (the baby has been born). I’ve got to tell the authorities, ‘Come hell or high water they will not stop me getting to see my first granddaughter or son’.
“The baby’s due on Christmas Eve. How amazing would that be?”
D: “I think it’s a time to really, really count our chickens that we’ll keep safe over the winter. And be thankful, and maybe give a bit of thought to those who are on their own. Digitally keep in touch – a phone call or email – and be aware there’s a lot of people who have lost people this year.”
Callum Woodhouse, actor
“Typically, for me, it’s all about the food. I always love my mum’s Christmas dinner. She makes the best Yorkshires. It’s always the thing to get back home for – especially this year, with not being able to see her as frequently as I’d like.”
LadBaby!, Lifestyle blogger and YouTuber
“We have got two little kids and it’s just about making sure that Santa comes, making sure they have got all their presents and giving them the most normal day possible; having Christmas dinner, watching Home Alone on telly…
“If we can see nans and granddads, then we will – if not, we will find a way to Zoom and FaceTime and make sure that everyone is seen.”
Andi Oliver, chef and broadcaster
“Christmas this year will be about being even more grateful than ever before that we’re safe and we’re happy and that we’ve still got each other and we’re working.
“I’m working quite hard at the moment; I’ve been filming (Great British Menu) for the last month and I’m filming the first two weeks of December, so it will be nice to stop for a minute and take stock. If we’re allowed to travel, my family are from Antigua, so I’ll be going to Antigua over the holiday period, just to get a little bit of sunshine.”
Dan Walker, BBC Breakfast presenter
“As a Christian, Christmas is really important. I’m often talking to our kids about what Christmas is really about – but for us, it’s also massively about family.
“In the same way that we thought of 2020 as a year that has taught us a lot – and many of those lessons we don’t want to go through again – I really don’t know what Christmas is going to hold. If it’s just us as a family, we’ll have a great time and enjoy ourselves and try and spread a bit of love around our friends and family virtually.
“But like everybody else, I’m looking forward to a time when we can have a packed house with loads of people, and you can hug people – that’s crucial.”
Denise Van Outen, actress, singer and TV presenter
“It will definitely be more of a time focused on family and making sure people are feeling mentally strong. We have quite a fun house, there’s a lot of chat and laughter and we play music.
“There’s a lot of people going through it (Covid-19) on their own and I think people need to be mindful of that.”
Jon Richardson, comedian
“I think it will be a really shrinked-back Christmas this year, and that will be brilliant. We’ve already said to our family, ‘We (him and his wife, comedian Lucy Beaumont) certainly don’t need or want anything; get something for our daughter if you want to’.
“As an idea for Christmas going forward: you don’t buy people stuff you don’t want or need, and you focus on being together.”
Big Zuu, rapper and TV personality
“I’m going to exercise all the chef things that I’ve been learning filming. I’ve filmed two Christmas specials – my chef expertise is going up – so there’s a lot of expectations on me this year with Christmas. Normally, me and mumsy go back to back; this year I’m taking the reins. I’m cooking the whole thing!”
Mackenzie Crook, actor and writer-director
“It will be a poignant one. It will be a strange cap at the end of a difficult year. But it hasn’t all been bad this year; there have been lots of good things to come out of it as well. It’s a year that we will never forget.”
By Katie Wright
Usually around this time of year, we’re looking forward to party season, planning what to wear for the many celebrations we’ll be sharing with friends, family and colleagues, then spending hours getting dolled up on the night.
Sadly, due to coronavirus restrictions, the festive season won’t be going off with quite such a bang this year, but while gatherings may be smaller, there’s no reason not to get glammed up for the holidays.
Here, inspired by the autumn/winter catwalks, we’ve got five gorgeous ideas for enhancing your usual make-up look…
Ravishing red lips
Like the juicy hue of a holly berry, at the Alice Temperley show, models’ lips were painted bright red with a smooth satin finish.
If you want to make your party pout even more opulent, try adding a swipe of clear gloss on top, or opt for a glittery red lipstick.
Ideal for elongating eyes, winged liner puts the focus on your peepers, as seen at the Marc Jacobs AW20 show, where make-up legend Pat McGrath combined jet black pencil and liquid formulas for a very sultry effect.
To recreate the look, start by using a kohl pencil to trace a rough outline close to the upper lashes (it doesn’t have to be super neat) and across the lower waterline – if you have smaller eyes you may want to skip the waterline, or use a pale liner to create a more eye-opening effect.
Then, take a liquid or gel liner and neaten the upper lash line, extending outwards into a sharp flick. Finish with several coats of mascara.
Stunning orchid-esque shades of purpley-pink lips were seen on the Roksanda and Olivia Rubin catwalks, making a refreshing change from the usual classic red.
With a shade so bold, it’s best to keep the rest of your make-up simple, but a hint of pinkish blush on the apples of your cheeks creates a beautiful tonal feel.
Undated Handout Photo of Model backstage at Gabriela Hearst AW20, make-up by Bobbi Brown. See PA Feature BEAUTY Festive. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature BEAUTY Festive. WARNING: This picture must only be used with the full product information as stated above.
Metallics were a big story on the autumn catwalks, and while we’re not sure the thick silver leaf eye adornments models were given at Erdem are the easiest look to pull off in the real world, we can totally get on board with the golden shimmer shadow seen at Gabriela Hearst – a slightly toned-down version, that is.
For a subtle nod to the trend, take a warm gold cream or liquid shadow and use your fingertip to sweep it across the eyelid and into the crease, blending upwards, then use your little finger to add a dab at the eye corner and under the lower lashes. Finish with your favourite black mascara.
Not feeling particularly festive this year? Well you’ve got the perfect excuse to eschew glitter and bright hues, because gothic glamour was the name of the game at Rodarte and Anna Sui.
A deep berry-toned lipstick is the key product for nailing the mournful make-up look, and it’s got to be matte. Outline your lips precisely with a well-sharpened pencil liner, then fill in with matte liquid lip colour. Allow to dry then add another coat for extra staying power.
By Laura Harding
Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson, Captain Sir Tom Moore and Marcus Rashford will all feature in a special issue of the Beano written for adults, which reflects on the events of 2020.
The special edition of the comic, dubbed BeanOLD, will be a pull-out inside the regular Beano and will see Dennis the Menace’s parents look back on Zoom quizzes, home-schooling, delayed Bond films and toilet roll shortages.
The children’s comic was first published in July 1938 and continued production throughout the Second World War, featuring stories of The Bash Street Kids and Minnie the Minx, Bananaman and Dennis and Gnasher.
The first adult issue will show Dennis’ father, Mr Menace, get a new job in the Elf Service, having lost his job at Wilbur Brown’s factory.
Sir Tom Moore, who raised more than £32 million for the NHS by walking laps of his garden, and Manchester United footballer Rashford, who has campaigned for free school meals and child literacy, visit Beanotown to receive honorary MBEs (Member of the Beano Elf-service) for their efforts this year.
While in town they save Christmas by rumbling Wilbur Brown and Walter Softy’s plan to steal all of the Christmas presents.
The Prime Minister then lands in town and helps Wilbur Brown stage his getaway, with help from his recently departed chief aide Cummings as their getaway driver.
The comic even features a reference to Cummings driving with impaired eyesight, after his notorious drip to Barnard Castle during lockdown.
It also includes an appearance from environmental activist Greta Thunberg, who offers Dennis’ dad advice on how to grow his own Christmas tree, as well as a cameo from Desperate Dan, marking the first time the character has appeared in a comic for eight years.
Dunkirk actor Tom Hardy also makes a guest appearance as Dennis’ mum’s celebrity crush and Christmas present wish.
Mike Stirling, editorial director of Beano Studios, said: “We’ve formed our very own Gnational Elf Service to help spread laughs and keep the nation smiling this winter.
“We love bringing kids laughs every week but 2020 has been so tough, that for the first time in 82 years we’ve created a comic that kids can give to adults to share some much-needed Beano LOLZ.”
Find out more at beano.com/elf.
The postal services said on Monday that traditional postal services (regular mail, registered, insured mail, parcels, EPG parcels, EMS/Datapost if applicable etc.) will resume on Tuesday, December 1, for the following destinations:
Australia; Austria; Bahrain; Belgium, Brazil (only EMS/Datapost); Bulgaria; Canada; China; Czechia; Denmark; Egypt; Estonia; Finland; France; Georgia; Germany, Great Britain; Greece, India; Indonesia; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Japan; Kenya; Korea; Kuwait; Latvia; Lebanon; Lithuania, Morocco; Netherlands; Norway; Oman; Pakistan; Philippines; Romania; Russia; Saudi Arabia; Singapore; South Africa; Spain; Sri Lanka; Sweden; Switzerland; Taiwan; Tanzania; Thailand; UAE; Ukraine and USA.
The postal services noted that every possible effort is being made to add more destinations, which will be announced as soon as this is feasible.
“We remind our customers that the delivery of mail is not done under normal conditions. Therefore, the transport, handling, handling and delivery of items to the countries of destination is delayed,” it added.
Last week, the postal services published a list of 22 countries to which it stopped sending postal items due to the inability to find air carriers. The affected countries were Argentina, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Croatia, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Norway, Hungary, Ukraine, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Finland.
It has also warned there would be delays in incoming and outgoing mail due to the reduction in flights as a result of coronavirus restrictions.
The health ministry has announced the rapid testing locations for the general population for Tuesday. Tests are free of charge.
It said that targeted testing was also continuing at specific premises and services, such as care homes, in the districts of Limassol, Paphos and Larnaca. Mobile units were also carrying out tests at the police and other services of the public sector. Tests are also being carried out at public and private hospitals, the ministry said.
Rapid tests for the general population on December 1 will be carried out at the following locations:
Limassol district: Gregoris Afxentiou Square, Limassol (8.30am – 5.00pm); Apostolon Petrou and Pavlou and Ayiou Artemiou church, Kapsalos (8.30am – 5.00pm)
Larnaca district: Sklavenitis supermarket car park, Spyros Kyprianou avenue, Larnaca (8.30am – 5.00pm); Metro supermarket car park, Larnaca (8.30am – 5.00pm)
Nicosia district: Ayios Demetrios church, Acropolis, Nicosia (8.30am-5.00pm); Prodromos post office parking, Strovolos, (10.00am-5.00 pm).
The programme is open to members of the public with priority to those who service the public, distributors and front line professionals.
The public will be informed about the result of their test by written message within 24 hours and also in writing if they wish from the mobile units within 30 minutes of the test.
Parliamentarians on Monday reviewed the fifth supplementary budget for fiscal year 2020 worth €254 million.
The major line items are as follows: €77 million on defence expenditures; €116 million on the general government contribution to the Social Insurance Fund; €12 million on pensions; €6 million on promotions of police officers, firemen and special constables; a €6 million credit line to be tapped, if needed, to deal with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic; and €4 million on the assistance provided to Lebanon after the massive explosion at the port of Beirut in August.
The first and second supplementary budgets for 2020 were worth €369m and €220 million, respectively, with the cash allocated to dealing with the coronavirus situation.
The third supplementary budget came to €231 million, of which €151.5 million allocated to the coronavirus situation, and €79.6 million allocated to other expenditures.
The fourth supplementary budget for 2020 – relating to payment of contract soldiers in the National Guard – had not been passed by parliament.
Every year, I go home for Christmas. And though I’ve lived in Cyprus for the last 30 (sometimes very odd) years, the old adage is true: home IS where the heart is – and that’s my mother’s little cottage in the picture perfect Cotswolds.
In winter, it snows. Carollers line the high street; mullioned windows glimmer from within. There are ancient pubs with roaring fires, second-hand bookshops you can get lost in, and mulled wine stands wafting clove-scented clouds of warmth. The chime of church bells hangs in the wintry air as robins chirp from bare-branched trees and hollyed hedges. In short, it’s a living Christmas card; and to me, the very epitome of home.
But this year, I won’t be there. Covid-19 has put paid to my usual plans, and instead I’ll be celebrating Christmas in Cyprus, sans family. Granted, I’ll be with my partner (who hails from London, and recalls the more urban delights of the Oxford Street lights, the Harrods Christmas crush, and late-night shopping) and my mother will be joining her sister for a Christmas-in-a-corona-bubble, so I should be grateful. But it’s still a shock to the system. And that rings true for all of us whose Christmas has been stolen by corona.
“I’m going to miss my family so much,” says 23-year-old Keira Spencer, who moved to Cyprus from Shropshire in January, just ahead of the pandemic. “Last Christmas we spent the entire holiday together – hanging the decorations, eating mince pies, drinking mulled wine into the night. This year, I’m going to be alone. Alone in my little Limassol flat; the same place I’ve lived and worked and slept and dreamt for the last six months.”
For most of the seasonal refugees, Christmas loneliness has never been an issue. This is Cyprus, and there’s a friend round every corner, be it a convivial colleague, next-door neighbour, or open-hearted stranger. There has always been someone willing to welcome you into their family come Christmas, plying you with more food, warmth, hospitality, and questions than one person could possibly stomach.
But in 2020, everything has changed; our warm, sociable, outdoor island is experiencing what may well be its worst nightmare: enforced distance. Which means there’ll be legions of islanders who usually fly home for Christmas spending the holidays alone. And thousands more family members waiting abroad for an annual return that, this year, won’t take place.
“My mother is in her 80s,” says Mark Whitting, who hails from New York. “She’s not in the best of health and, to be honest, even before the pandemic my wife and I been considering moving back home; my mother is getting to the stage where she needs someone to care for her, and I’m an only child.”
But with corona foiling their plans, Mark and his wife now worry about who will be there for his mother – especially over Christmas. “Given her age, she’s considered vulnerable,” he laments. “So it’s not like she can join in with Christmas dinner at the church, or have a few friends round for pie. And I wouldn’t want to further risk her health by flying over for a couple of weeks – I’d have to quarantine anyway to be safe, and by the time that was over, I’d need to be back in Cyprus, in my office.”
Miranda Tringis, owner of botanical park CyHerbia, will also be missing her family this year. “Thank goodness we flew back to Holland for Christmas 2019,” she says. “It was absolutely wonderful: the whole family gathered in my parents’ village in Holland, my sisters and daughters, aunts and uncles, and we spent the holidays cooking and laughing together. And that’s what Christmas should be about: making memories with the people you love. Kids don’t remember the gifts, they remember the year we burnt the turkey, the time they won at Cluedo, or the way we laughed at our drunk uncle – and making those memories is so important at this time of year.”
As Miranda’s two daughters are unlikely to be with her on the 25th, she has plans to make her new memories. “I accept what I can’t change, and change what I can,” she smiles. “I think, on Christmas Day, I’ll pop on a scarlet swimsuit and go paddle boarding with a bottle of champagne. Start a new tradition. Who knows, next year, maybe my whole family will be able to join in!”
George Constantinou, who works in Larnaca, has also seen his plans scuppered by Covid-19. “My wife and I have been scrimping and saving for three years so we could take the whole family back to Melbourne for this year’s hols,” he says sadly. “My youngest son has never met his grandparents, and both my wife and I were dying to see all our friends and relatives. We’ve been hoping against hope that we might be able to make it, but with three kids under the age of 10, and elderly parents back home, the trip just doesn’t make sense. Plus, my wife works in a hotel and has been mostly unemployed since the start of the pandemic. We’ve already had to dig into our vacation savings, so it looks like even if it were safe to travel, we wouldn’t have the money.”
The financial implications of corona have affected island residents of all ages who have seen their seasonal arrangements frustrated. “One year, my kids and grandkids come to me, the next, I fly back to them in the UK,” says Pamela Cooper, who moved to Cyprus for “a sun-soaked retirement” after her husband passed away in 2014.
“2020 was my year to go back home, back to Kent, back to the little town where my two sons and six grandchildren all live,” says Pamela. “But with corona, it’s just not safe for me to travel. And with everything that’s happened to the economy this year, they can’t afford to come here. So I guess it will be Christmas for one in Peyia. I’m a pretty tough old bird, I’ve seen a lot in my life, so I’m not saying there’ll be tears in the turkey. But I can’t help hoping that next year, God willing, all of us can get home for Christmas.”
Paphos restaurant owners and local MPs have appealed to President Nicos Anastasiades, to allow an extension to their opening hours following the measures which came in to force on Monday.
Until December 13, restaurants, bars, cafes, tavernas and other eateries must close by 7pm though the delivery of food and drinks is allowed after this time.
“We met with the local MPs on Saturday and spoke about the problems facing Paphos restaurants and agreed together to appeal to the president, as we need help,” Neophytos Thrasyvoulou, the president of the Federation of Leisure Centre Owners Association, told the Cyprus Mail on Monday.
“It is not fair how Paphos has been treated and we would like to be able to open until 10.30pm.”
A letter has been sent to the relevant minister and the president highlighting the plight of catering businesses in Paphos, he said.
“Paphos was tested for two weeks in the restaurants and eateries until 10.30pm and a reduction of cases was found. In fact, we had a huge reduction of cases, according to the epidemiologists,” he said.
The federation is calling on the president to examine the ‘injustice’ committed against Paphos, as the epidemiological situation does not justify the measures announced, he said.
“Tell me which family will go for food at 5pm or 6pm,” he said.
The problem with the spread of the virus is not the fault of restaurants where customers are sat at a table on a chair and do not circulate, and served by staff following all of the protocols, whereas, shopping malls and supermarkets are full of people, queuing next to each other, and walking past each other, he said.
“Clubs and bars aren’t open at present, so what is the problem as customers sit in one place and stay there. No food or drink is served unless they are seated.”
He further suggested monitoring the opening until 10.30pm for two weeks, to clarify if the spread of the virus is due to socialising in restaurants.
“We don’t believe it is,” he said.
The federation head said either let establishments open, or close them down until next year , as the current conditions mean shopping, filling up fridges with stock, which then goes to waste as there aren’t enough customers, or a slew of new measures come in to force, which then close them again.
What the future holds for the industry, after the pandemic, was also discussed at the weekend’s meeting.
“We also spoke about what help and financial aid will be available to us when this is over. Paphos is a tourist destination and the new measures are a final blow. We are all close to financial disaster and I hope that the president will step in.”
The deputy ministry of shipping will shell out €4.2 million of its 2021 budget on the proposed Cyprus-Greece ferry service, minister Vasilis Demetriou told MPs at the House finance committee on Monday.
Discussing finances for 2021 amid the ongoing pandemic and its impact on the global economy, Demetriou said his ministry’s budget for next year was €14.5m, the same as it was for 2020, other than the inclusion of the €4.2m for the ferry service.
The open competition for the operation of the service to Piraeus would be announced in the next 10 days, Demetriou said.
The service aims to be up and running by next May or June. It will provide for 31 return trips to the Greek port on a weekly basis in summer, every fortnight in the autumn and once a month in winter.
“Interested bidders can choose either the port of Larnaca or Limassol, with the possibility of including a stopover, and the fares will be quite attractive,” Demetriou said. He does not think the pandemic will affect plans and hoped the contract could be awarded in April.
Speaking about the sector, Demetriou said the contribution of shipping to GDP now stands at 7 per cent. The Cypriot-flagged registry is the 11th biggest in the world and the third biggest in the EU.
In 2020, there were 1,722 ships on the island’s registry compared with 1,728 in 2019. The small decrease was down to ships being decommissioned but new registrations are expected.
Demetriou also pointed out that the number of Cypriots training for the maritime industry had increased to 269 in 2020 from 237 the previous year.
Part of next year’s budget, around € 700,000, is also expected to go to the Maritime Cyprus Conference in 2021, which takes place every two years to showcase the island’s shipping industry.
“The approval of the tonnage tax system for another ten years by the European Commission creates conditions of stability for the Cypriot shipping,” the minister said.
The goal was to improve the sector with a plan of tax incentives for ‘green’ ships as Cyprus wanted to be a “co-shaper” of the green transformation.
Demetrious said the fallout from the pandemic would become more visible in the coming months.
“However, as a sector and a driver of trade, shipping has been less affected than others,” he said.
Despite their coronavirus-induced absences, Anorthosis managed to grab a vital win against Enosis on Saturday to top the Cyprus First Division.
Going into the weekend, Anorthosis shared top spot with Apollon – who lost 2-1 to AEL on Sunday in the Limassol derby.
The game between Anorthosis and Enosis featured three penalties within a 50-minute window, with the first goal scored from open play coming in the 73rd minute of the game when Kvilitaia made it 3-1 for Anorthosis.
Before speaking on the game in his post-match press conference, Anorthosis manager Temur Ketsbaia paid his respects to Mario Frangous, a 31-year-old Anorthosis supporter who recently died in a paragliding accident.
“I offer my condolences to Marios’ family for this untimely death, Ketsbaia said.
Ketsbaia also touched on Diego Maradona’s passing last week, saying that “he was an idol for all generations”.
On the game itself, Ketsbaia was his usual reserved self, acknowledging the positive result but not making too much of it at this stage.
“We achieved the objective, three points, that’s all that matters. We cannot say anything more about the game”, the Anorthosis manager said.
Sunday’s Limassol derby was marked by its generally high levels of determination and aggression, particularly by AEL who accumulated a whopping eight yellow cards by the end of it.
AEL have the second-highest number of yellow cards in the league so far with 39 in 12 games. For reference, Apoel are first with 41, while Apollon and Omonia are in the bottom two spots with 20 and 18 yellow cards respectively.
Speaking after the game, AEL attacking midfielder and scorer of the winning goal Sito Riera said AEL “showed character” by managing to score soon after Apollon had equalised.
“It was a tough game, we knew it from the start of the week. A derby is always a derby”, Riera said.
“I am very happy. Everyone wants to play more attacking football and score. I have a freer role and I feel better”, Riera added.
AEL manager Dusan Kerkez was effusive about his players, while at the same time bemoaning the fact that such an important game was played with no fans in attendance.
“It is neither just another game for Limassol, nor a normal derby. It’s a shame we didn’t have fans attending. It would have been a full house and a much better game for it”, Kerkez said.
“We knew we would be facing a quality team. We had a difficult week, three derbies in a row. Congratulations to everyone, my players, and my staff. It was a difficult game. Apollon had a lot of chances”, Kerkez added.
“We want to play good football. We will see what we can do. AEL wanted the game a bit more today and we also had luck on our side”, Kerkez concluded.
Meanwhile, Apollon manager Giannis Petrakis said that Apollon were better than AEL despite the final score, particularly highlighting his team’s superiority in the second half.
“AEL were better than us in the first half despite us having the first good chance to score. In the second half, we were much better than our opponents. We hit the post twice, we missed a penalty, and we had two other good chances. The opponent only threatened to score once”, said Petrakis.
“The result is not exactly unfair overall, but perhaps it’s unfair considering our second half performance. Trust is needed for both the players and the technical team. The league has a long way to go and the big teams will be the ones who will be able to manage any negative moments which I consider to be unavoidable.
“We keep learning from such moments and become stronger from them. We want to be better with every game and get the results we want”, the Apollon manager added.
Elsewhere, Mick McCarthy’s Apoel registered a precious 3-0 win at Salamina, Olympiakos beat Karmiotissa 3-2 at home, while Pafos continued their good run by getting their fourth win in the past five games.
The 12th round of fixtures concluded on Monday night, with Omonia hosting Ermis, and AEK away to Ethnikos Achnas.
People who refuse a vaccine for COVID-19 could find normal life curtailed as restaurants, bars, cinemas and sports venues could block entry to those who don’t have proof they are inoculated, Britain’s new vaccine minister said on Monday.
Several major COVID-19 vaccines have been announced in recent weeks, raising hopes that the world could soon return to some semblance of normality after the coronavirus killed 1.46 million people and wiped out a chunk of the global economy.
The British minister responsible for the vaccine rollout, Nadhim Zahawi, said getting vaccinated should be voluntary but that Google, Facebook and Twitter should do more to fact-check opposing views of vaccines.
Asked by the BBC if there would be an immunity passport, Zahawi said a person’s COVID-19 vaccine status might be included in a phone app that would inform local doctors of a person’s status.
“But also I think you’d probably find that restaurants and bars and cinemas and other venues, sports venues, will probably also use that system as they’ve done with the app,” Zahawi told the BBC.
“The sort of pressure will come both ways: from service providers – who will say ‘look, demonstrate to us that you have been vaccinated’ – but also we will make the technology as easy and accessible as possible.”
Health authorities in many countries have become increasingly concerned in recent years by the growth of anti-vaccine groups, which are especially active on social media.
Asked if it would become virtually impossible to do anything without the vaccine, Zahawi said: “I think people have to make a decision but I think you’ll probably find many service providers will want to engage in this in the way they did with the app.”
Zahawi declined to give any specific date on a vaccine rollout as none have yet been approved for public use.
The message, he said, should be that a vaccine is good for the community and the country.
President Nicos Anastasiades on Monday appointed four current district court presidents to the Supreme Court.
According to an official announcement from the presidency, Dora Socratous, Lena Demetriadou Andreou, Ioannis Ioannides and Nicolas Santis will be sworn in at 12 noon on Wednesday, December 2.
A 23-year-old man was remanded in custody for six days in Larnaca on Monday suspected of possession and distribution of child pornography, police said.
The man was arrested after Europol informed Cypriot authorities that a social media user had sent another user three files containing child sexual abuse.
The cybercrime department identified the suspect and on Sunday he was arrested in Larnaca, police said.
In his possession, officers found a mobile phone, which they seized for further investigation.
Police said the suspect admitted his actions during questioning.
He could face charges relating to acquisition accessing, possession and distribution of child pornography.
Amid mounting criticism over apparent discrepancies in its latest raft of Covid-19 measures, the government on Monday scrambled to explain why it had decided to close down restaurants at 7pm, permit only 10 people to attend weddings and funerals, but allow congregations of up to 75 for routine church services.
The new measures that came into effect on Monday have come under fire from professional groups such as the hospitality sector and gym owners who fear they may deliver the final blow to their businesses, as well as members of the public bemused as to why schools can carry on as normal, but out-of-school activities for children cannot.
A Sunday church service, broadcast live on CyBC at Orounta, where members of the public were captured on camera not wearing masks or adhering to social distancing rules, only prompted more complaints.
Criticism has also been levied from opposition parties who say the measures are contradictory and not well thought out.
The ministry of health decided to respond in writing, addressing some of the main issues raised.
It said the thinking and objectives of the measures, that will be in force until December 13, was to give adequate time for them to be effective and for the epidemiological situation to improve.
In so doing, it had taken into consideration “psychological and social factors with the aim to ensure the operation of society with the least possible repercussions on the daily lives of people,” it said.
The measures are focused primarily on restricting an individual’s close contacts and in reducing movement. They also limit the venues and activities where people may congregate – and where the virus may therefore spread.
To the question why up to 75 people are allowed into churches, it said that this ceiling applies to all indoor areas such as restaurants, conferences halls, etc. Other conditions, such as protocols which require those in church to be seated and to wear a mask at all times apply, as does the rule that there can only be one person per 3 square metres.
Why then is there a 10-person ceiling for weddings, christenings and funerals?
This is the maximum allowed for all social events as well as gatherings at homes, the ministry said. Weddings, christenings and funerals are considered social gatherings since people know each other, are emotionally charged and there is therefore a higher risk of transmission of the virus.
Contact tracing has shown large clusters of positive cases after funerals, weddings and christenings, which makes containing the spread difficult.
The ministry addressed the question it had decided to suspend the operation of some branches such as gyms and restrict the opening hours of the hospitality sector.
Because of the nature of their activity, gyms are listed as high risk for transmission by the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), it said.
Moreover, those exercising cannot wear a mask and strictly comply with protective measures, they are considered as places with a higher rate of virus transmission, it added.
As regards the hospitality sector, in many countries such as the UK, catering establishments were among the first sectors to be closed or subject to restrictions since September because of the risk of transmission of the virus.
In Cyprus, there have been clusters that are difficult to track and trace and contain, the ministry said adding that the 7pm closing is part of the general framework of measures to restrict movement and crowding.
On the issue of schools operating but after-school activities being prohibited, the ministry said that protocols are in place in schools where the situation is controlled and there is a procedure in the event of a positive case. In addition, children are in bubbles, facilitating tracing.
In contrast children from different schools attend out of school activities and a positive case could spread the virus to children from other schools.