Rated one of the safest countries in the world and in the top 15 healthiest, Cyprus has long been one of the best relocation destinations for business and families. Cyprus has certainly lived up to its reputation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Quick government planning and action, conscientious community compliance, and comprehensive support for businesses have allowed the country to be one of the success stories during the unprecedented global hardship.
The story of Cyprus in the first wave of COVID-19 could have been a tragedy. As a hub of commerce and tourism, the virus came through Cyprus airports early in the European phase of the pandemic. Due to the many pensioners and elderly that have chosen to make Cyprus their homes, the population is older with many higher risk individuals. With a hospitality and service based economy, and a friendly and gregarious community, Cyprus has many potential vectors for transmission.
Fig Tree Bay Beach, Mid-June 2020
However, the Cyprus government adopted a safety first approach to COVID-19, offering public warnings and information on the virus very early. Dedicated Ministry of Health sponsored websites and telephone hotlines were made available to the public, and guidelines for symptoms and self-isolation were broadly distributed. Scaling public health directives were implemented as the virus spread, culminating in a nation-wide closure of non-essential services with SMS tracking monitored by local police.
Rather than lash out at such restrictions, the Cypriot populace had a high compliance rate and conscientiously followed safety guidelines. Citations were issued in the event of non-compliance and were viewed similarly to speeding or seat belt regulations; inconvenient but necessary for public safety. With high adherence to Ministry of Health recommendations, full lockdown was only needed for a few weeks, gradually lessening by mid-May.
An additional reason for widespread acceptance of COVID-19 precautions has also been the comprehensive government support for businesses and individuals. Business payrolls were subsidized and self-employed persons received paycheck support. The massive unemployment rates that have been present in some first world nations were unimaginable in Cyprus, giving both businesses and citizens peace of mind and confidence in the future.
Although Cyprus is in no way unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic and will surely be feeling the fall-out for some time, the nation has come away much better than many other nations, considering its comparative vulnerability. Although certainly there were tragedies, Cyprus’ story as a whole is one of careful, competent planning, quick, informed action, and support by both the populace and the government. Cyprus remains one of the safest and most advantageous relocation destinations worldwide.