COVID19: Turkish Cypriots struggle to contain cases

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As the number of cases remains in single digits in the Republic, Turkish Cypriot authorities are having difficulty in bringing down COVID-19 infections after spiralling out of control in September.

According to data released on Monday evening, Turkish Cypriot health authorities recorded another 14 COVID-19 cases, raising their total to 593.

Authorities in the north have stepped up measures to stem the spread of coronavirus while introducing fines for the first time for individual COVID offenders.

Turkish Cypriots will also deny entry to foreigners from Wednesday until Sunday.

People will now be fines for breaking their quarantine, not wearing a mask in crowded places, or keeping to social distancing rules.

With many people violating their quarantine, authorities have decided to impose a fine equal to five times the minimum salary, which is currently around €405, or one year in prison.

People refusing to wear a mask in crowded places or do not adhere to social distancing rules will also be fined around €40.

Infections in the Turkish Cypriot community have been out of control since the beginning of the month with a spike of 276 new cases reported in September alone.

According to an official count in the north, 499 cases were reported since July 1 when the north opened its ports of entry to travellers, arriving mainly from coronavirus-struck Turkey.

Passengers from Turkey have been of particular concern as the country has reported a total of 291,162 cases and 7,056 deaths, while the average number of daily cases in September has been above 1600.

Anyone arriving from Turkey in the north must quarantine for 14 days at a designated facility.

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

Authorities in the north also reinstated a partial lockdown until October 1 to control the pandemic.