Description of the disaster
In 2019, the number of new asylum applications has dramatically increased to 12,361 (see Figure 1), bringing Cyprus the first country in the per capita number of receiving asylum applications among the EU member states. The applications further increased since the beginning of 2020, by 32%. Besides the above-mentioned new applications, the country was already facing a backlog of more than 20,000 non-reviewed applications of migrants arriving before.
Trends in migration arrivals
On 23 March 2020, the Cyprus Government announced a list of measures due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The announcement set forth restrictions on the movement of persons inside the country (half-day curfew), checkpoints and international borders lock-down, closing down of schools and of businesses, which were not offering indispensable services, as well as a hosting scheme for incoming cases from abroad and self-isolation guidelines .
The lock-down of checkpoints and borders affected the arrivals of migrants in the country; there were no new entries since the day the relevant measure was announced. Until that day however, the monthly average of migrant arrivals had sky-rocketed to 554 (see Figure 2) .