On Monday afternoon Cyprus will be ready to begin conducting specialised coronavirus tests, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said.
The tests will be conducted at the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics, which will be equipped with all the necessary equipment by Monday afternoon.
Pending the arrival of the equipment, coronavirus tests on suspected cases in Cyprus were carried out by the Hellenic Pasteur Institute, which would return the results within 30 hours, Ioannou said.
With the possibility of conducting the tests locally, results can be expected much faster.
The Minister said that Cyprus is in daily contact with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the EU, and is ready to apply all protocols regarding coronavirus.
He added that any passenger arriving from any part of China will be checked, while all passengers who had travelled to China over the past fortnight must notify the authorities.
Ioannou gave assurances that all WHO instructions are being implemented and that the Health Ministry is ready to immediately update the protocols as required.
Asked by reporters whether the Government is examining the possibility of shutting its borders to Chinese nationals, as countries such as Israel have done, Ioannou replied that “it’s one thing for a private company to decide to discontinue flights and another for a state to close its borders.”
He added that very few states have made such a drastic move, and none are EU Member States.
Meanwhile, the two leaders of the island's divided communities are set to meet later on Monday to discuss ways to cooperate against the virus.