Cyprus

Coronavirus: Commander Of British Forces Cyprus Says Community Has 'Stood Tall'

Major General Rob Thomson has said military activity continues despite the lockdown.

The Commander of British Forces Cyprus has praised the military community, which he said has "stood tall" amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Major General Rob Thomson told Forces News the community's response to the outbreak has been "really humbling".

Twelve people have died from COVID-19 on the island and the country has had nearly 700 confirmed cases.

A lockdown is now in place, with a night-time curfew, while those travelling without correct authorisation can face fines.

More than 3,000 members of the UK military live and work in Cyprus, and so far, there have been 9 mild cases of COVID-19 within the British bases.

Major General Thomson said: "The great majority of those who have had the virus, have been tested negatively, which means they are clear of the virus and they are now living their life."

He also said those who have contracted the virus within the bases have had mild symptoms and that military activity is continuing.

“We still deliver the airbridge to Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said.

“The Expeditionary Air Wing based here at Akrotiri, still does its work above the skies of Syria.”

When asked about how the testing is being carried out, he said: “You make a phone call on 112 and you talk to a medical expert in one of our medical centres.

"A judgment will then be made about whether the symptoms are consistent with those of coronavirus, and a discussion will be held about whether a test is required.

“That test will be done and it goes off to a Republic of Cyprus laboratory, and those tests come back now within 24 hours, and that gives people the results.”

Major General Thomson also praised personnel for adhering to guidance: “We’re a military community, people have a tendency to obey the rules and that’s been absolutely clear - people have been really good about that.”

He did warn, however: “If somebody is out, without the appropriate authorisation, they will receive a fixed penalty notice, and that’s the same penalty as you would get in the Republic of Cyprus, and it’s 300 Euros.