COVID19: Turkish Cypriots announce two new cases

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Authorities in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus have reported two more COVID-19 cases taking the total number to 123 and four deaths since March.

The two coronavirus cases were confirmed on Monday night by Alli Pilli, head of the Turkish Cypriot health authorities.

Pilli said that the two new cases – following three on Sunday – involved people arriving by air in the north, without however giving details on their nationality.

They were identified after 1,614 tests were carried out on Monday, with the majority of samples taken from people arriving on ferries and aeroplanes.

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

The Turkish Cypriot authorities have now reported 15 coronavirus cases in July, following a decision to lift an obligatory quarantine on passengers coming to the north, essentially opening its ports to coronavirus-struck Turkey.

July’s 15 cases followed a 75-day lull, which has caused an uproar in the community as cases were detected from the first day the north lifted obligatory quarantine for arrivals from Turkey.

Before July, Turkish Cypriots had not seen a new COVID-19 case since 17 April.

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

Authorities are now testing all arrivals at the airport and other entry points, quarantining passengers until their PCR tests are in.

Passengers from Turkey are of particular concern as the country has reported a total of 220,572 cases and some 5,508 deaths, while daily cases in July were close to 1000.