COVID19: Turkish Cypriots report 40 new cases over weekend

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Authorities in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus have tightened restrictions on visitors from countries of high risk regarding the spread of coronavirus, introducing quarantine periods of seven to 14 days.

Turkish Cypriot authorities reported 40 more COVID-19 cases during the weekend with Saturday recording the highest number of coronavirus infections since the outbreak in March with 26 new cases.

The north has seen a spike of 67 COVID-19 cases in the past four days.

The 26 new cases announced on Saturday and 14 on Sunday were confirmed by Ali Pilli, head of the Turkish Cypriot health authorities.

The 40 cases were identified after 2,697 tests were carried out.

According to Pilli, the majority of new cases announced over the weekend (28) involved people arriving by air and sea, without giving details of their nationality.

Authorities in the north are particularly concerned as the virus is taking a grip in the community with 12 cases involving local infections, the vast majority recorded in the villages of Lysi (Akdogan), Vadili and Sinta (Inonu) in occupied Famagusta.

Authorities have tightened restriction in the three villages, banning all social gatherings and events for a period of two weeks, starting Monday.

Following the resurgence of the virus, the Turkish Cypriot authorities decided to impose a 7-day quarantine on people arriving in the north from countries in Category B and a 14-day quarantine from Category C.

The Turkish Cypriot authorities have now reported 411 coronavirus cases since the outbreak, 300 of which were reported since 1 July when the north opened up its ports of entry to travellers, arriving mainly from coronavirus-struck Turkey.

Passengers from Turkey are of particular concern as the country has reported a total of 279,806 cases and 6,673 deaths, while the average number of daily cases in August was above 1400.

Turkey reported 1,578 new cases and 53 more deaths on Sunday.

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.