COVID19: 24 Cyprus UN personnel have virus

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The UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) confirmed Wednesday that despite its stringent COVID-19 procedures, there are currently 24 staff members who have the virus.

The breakdown is 2 civilian positive cases of COVID-19, 4 UN police officers and 18 military personnel.

Since the beginning of the pandemic in March, a total of 33 cases of COVID-19 have been identified, 9 individuals have subsequently made a full recovery.

“UNFICYP continues to work closely with the authorities to ensure that all relevant protocols to prevent and mitigate the risk of COVID-19 are strictly adhered to,” said a UN statement.

It said since the outbreak in March strict measures are in place to safeguard personnel and the wider community.

“In light of the progression of the virus on the island, the mission has stepped up these measures to ensure continuity of operations and to prevent the spread of the virus within the mission, as well as externally.

“We take our responsibility to care not only for personnel and their families but also for the communities we serve, extremely seriously,” the UN said.

As a precautionary measure, over half of all civilian staff are currently working from home.

Incoming military contingents are required to quarantine for 14 days in their countries before deployment to Cyprus and a further 14 days upon their arrival.

“A robust process of contact tracing and dedicated quarantine/isolation facilities supervised by UN medical personnel are in place and are utilized as required.”

UNFICYP said it has issued strict guidance to uniformed personnel on mitigating the spread of the virus, including minimizing physical contact with the population, especially when on patrols, use of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) as necessary and stringent hygiene practices.

“The mission regularly reviews its contingency plans and follows the guidance provided by the WHO, UN headquarters and the Cypriot authorities.

“UNFICYP continues to stand in solidarity with people across the island during these challenging times, contributing to peace and stability in Cyprus to the utmost of the mission’s capabilities.”

There are 802 UN military personnel and 69 police officers stationed in Cyprus and around 120 civilian staff.