COVID19: Turkish Cypriots confirm first case since April

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Authorities in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus reported their first coronavirus case after a 75-day lull, causing an uproar in the community.

The case, imported from Turkey, was confirmed on Wednesday night by Turkish Cypriot health minister Ali Pilli.

It was detected on the first day the north lifted obligatory quarantine for arrivals from Turkey.

The case was detected out of 434 samples from a total of 803 tests carried out on July 1, on people arriving on ferries and aeroplanes.

According to Pilli, the case involves a Turkish citizen who had travelled to the north from Turkey on board a ferry.

“The 434 tests were carried out on visitors arriving on ferries. The rest of the 369 tests were carried out on passengers on board two flights from Istanbul,” said Pilli.

The pending results for the 369 will be announced on Thursday.

Pilli said the patient has been taken to a hospital in north Nicosia to be treated in isolation.

Authorities said that “as of 2 July, people visiting the north, by air or sea, as well as from the airports of the Republic of Cyprus, will be quarantined in designated hotels pending the result of a PCR test they will be submitted to upon their entry”.

The Turkish Cypriot ruling coalition had previously decided to waive quarantine for visitors especially from Turkey where the virus is rapidly spreading.

This caused a storm of criticism forcing a U-turn.

Earlier in June, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci had himself urged a rethink while calling on the experts forming the advisory committee on the outbreak to voice their concerns over the matter.

The committee had resigned shortly after Akinci’s comments blaming the coalition for not listening to them.

Turkey has reported a total of 201,098 cases and some 5,150 deaths, while daily case since the beginning of June has fluctuated between 1000 and 1500.

This is the first case in the north since April 17, with total COVID-19 cases now 109 and four deaths.

In the Republic, the number of cases is 999 and 19 deaths since the outbreak in March.