COVID19: Divided Cyprus struggles with resurgent virus

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As the Republic reported a record high of new COVID-19 cases and deaths, authorities in the Turkish occupied north also saw a resurgence, reporting their first death since October.

A total of six COVID deaths were reported across the island on Tuesday.

New daily cases in the Republic continue to ratchet three-digits, taking COVID-19 cases across divided Cyprus to 14,489 infections with 74 deaths attributed to the virus.

Some 13,286 of those cases and 68 deaths were reported in the Republic.

Health authorities in the Republic of Cyprus have been engaging in a race against time, trying to contain the coronavirus outbreak with a roller coaster of daily cases in October and November, peaking at 419 on Tuesday.

Recent measures, including a 9 pm curfew and shutting restaurants and cafes at 7 pm, have failed as the authorities reported 2,903 cases since they were imposed on 30 November.

If things do not turn around, December will surpass November (6,157) as the worst month on record since the pandemic in March.

Turkish Cypriot authorities had put a lid on cases keeping them in single-digit figures, but they have reported 53 cases in the past four days.

On Tuesday, the north reported the death of an 86-year-old Turkish Cypriot, who reportedly suffered from hypertension and diabetes.

In November, authorities in the north confirmed 169 cases, reaching double-digit numbers just on three occasions.

Turkish Cypriot authorities reported 13 new infections on Tuesday.

The north still has a better epidemiological picture, however, specialists have warned over the increase in “orphan” cases, where the source of infection is unknown.

The union of Turkish Cypriot doctors (KTTB) has urged the authorities to keep a seven-day quarantine for people coming from abroad, as they find that most cases are either imported or related to imported cases.

Turkish Cypriot authorities brought the virus under control after they tightened controls on arrivals sending visitors who plan to stay more than three days to automatically quarantine for 14 days, recently reduced to seven.

Most passengers are from Turkey, which has reported a total of 893,630 cases and 15,314 deaths while the average number of daily cases in December is 32,000.

Turkey reported a record 33,198 new cases and 211 more deaths on Tuesday.

Since opening its airport on 1 July, the north has seen 880 cases recorded out of a total of 1,203 since the outbreak began.

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