Cyprus reports two new coronavirus deaths, confirmed cases total 164

Cyprus reported two more coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, following its first death on Saturday, an official with the Health Ministry said.

The ministry official told a news conference that one of the dead was a 63-year-old British national and the other a 58-year-old Greek Cypriot.

The country’s first coronavirus victim was a 70-year-old British national with underlying health conditions, the official said.

He also said that the number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases dropped back to a single digit of eight, after two-digit numbers were announced on Sunday and Monday. He added that the total number of cases recorded by the ministry stood at 124.

With 40 confirmed cases announced by authorities in the Turkish-controlled part of Cyprus, the tally for the eastern Mediterranean island rose to 164.

The updated coronavirus figures were announced as stepped-up measures restricting movement came into force at 6 p.m. local time (1600 GMT) on Tuesday.

Detailing the new measures, Interior Minister Nicos Nouris made an impassioned appeal to the “disobedient” Cypriot public to heed the new regulations.

“Citizens should understand that at stake is the life and health of each one of us and that only by staying indoors can we manage to break the chain of the coronavirus spread,” Nouris said.

Responding to public appeals, the Cypriot government put the finishing touches on Tuesday on an upgraded economic assistance package, which includes direct assistance to businesses and self-employed people, beefing up the original package from 750 million euros (807.8 million U.S. dollars) to 1.5 billion euros.

The package, worth around 6.8 percent of Cyprus’s gross domestic product (GDP), is expected to be approved by parliament on Friday. (1 euro = 1.08 U.S. dollar)