COVID19: Turkish Cypriots report more cases after lull

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Authorities in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus have reported three COVID-19 cases this week after being clear of coronavirus since 17 April.

Two coronavirus cases were confirmed on Thursday while another person tested positive on Wednesday after arriving from Turkey by ferry.

Alli Pilli, head of the Turkish Cypriot health authorities said the three cases since Wednesday were all from abroad.

The two cases involved people arriving by air in the north, one Turkish citizen and one passenger from Kazakhstan.

They were identified after 569 tests carried out on Wednesday and Thursday on people arriving on ferries and aeroplanes.

The Turkish Cypriot authorities on Wednesday had reported their first coronavirus case after a 75-day lull, causing an uproar in the community.

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

Alli Pilli said the patients have all been taken to a hospital in north Nicosia to be treated in isolation.

Following a storm of criticism caused by the incidents, the Turkish Cypriot authorities were forced to make a U-turn waiving quarantine for visitors especially from Turkey where the virus is rapidly spreading.

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”.

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 202,284 cases and some 5,167 deaths, while daily case since the beginning of June has fluctuated between 1000 and 1500.

These are the first cases in the north since April 17, with total COVID-19 cases now 111 and four deaths.

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

Divided Cyprus has a total of 1110 reported COVID-19 cases and 23 deaths.