COVID19: Turkish Cypriots see spike in new cases

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In a worrying turn of events, authorities in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus reported 17 more COVID-19 cases, the second-highest daily number of coronavirus infections since the outbreak in March.

Thursday’s results follow a five-day streak of reporting single-digit infections, taking the total number of cases in the north to 361. Divided Cyprus combined has clocked 1,851 cases and 25 deaths.

Republic of Cyprus Health Ministry on Thursday confirmed another 5 new COVID-19 cases bringing the total number of infections to 1,498 and 21 deaths.

The 17 coronavirus cases in the north were confirmed by Ali Pilli, head of the Turkish Cypriot health authorities.

Pilli said the new cases involved eight people with a travel history, six arriving by air, and two by sea, without giving details of their nationality.

Another nine cases were local infections, among which was a secretary at an elementary school in Lysi in Turkish occupied Famagusta, raising concerns ahead of the new school year set to begin on Monday.

They were identified after 1,265 tests were carried out on Thursday with health authorities in the north focusing on people arriving on ferries and by air.

The Turkish Cypriot authorities have now reported 250 coronavirus cases since July 1 when the north opened up its ports of entry to travellers, arriving mainly from coronavirus-struck Turkey.

Arrivals from Turkey are of particular concern as the country has reported a total of 274,943 cases and 6,511 deaths, while the average number of daily cases in August was above 1400.

Turkey reported 1,642 new cases and 49 more deaths on Thursday, the second-highest in a four-month period.

Before opening up ports of entry, the north had seen a 75-day lull reporting zero cases since April 17.

The resurgence of the virus had begun on the first day the north opened its ports of entry and initially lifting an obligatory quarantine for arrivals from Turkey.