I came back to CoPaP a year or so ago myself. No, old characters are not deleted.
The CO still stands, but has no active players and the player base wasn't large enough to have any new ones.
As such, earlier this year I elected to remort Nerice.
While I haven't seen much in the way of any DM action on Hala at all since my return (and also minimal on Arkaz) A small handful of players still play on Hala, usually on Thursday evenings for the Tower folks and on Sundays for Defenders. Otherwise, you'll mostly see people come and go off and on soloing or in small groups to do quests, usually from Avlis. (including myself)
I HIGHLY recommend you come join us on Discord - whether you decide to play or not, come chat with us! (no need for voice if you don't want) - it is easily the easiest way to coordinate with people these days (or just say hi) https://discord.gg/udw3Kr