COVID19: Turkish Cypriots trying to contain virus spike

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Turkish Cypriots hope to get coronavirus under control as the number of daily COVID-19 cases reported in May dived after a surge last month.

April was the worst month on record, with Turkish Cypriot authorities reporting 1,879 new cases, breaking March’s record of 1,009; so far, just 491 cases have been recorded in May.

However, the worsening epidemiological data in the north has brought about two deaths in the first two days of the month, with authorities reporting the health system is under strain.

Turkish Cypriots are under curfew, as the ruling coalition last week renewed measures in effect to stem the spread of coronavirus in the community.

Authorities said a curfew would continue to remain in force from Monday-Saturday from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

There is a 24-hour curfew on Sundays, with people only allowed to leave their homes for essential trips.

Retail shops and hospitality are open between 7 am and 8 pm on weekdays on the condition all restaurant employees undergo PCR tests.

Restaurants can provide outdoor services Monday through Friday; delivery and take-away is allowed until 8:30 pm, Monday through Sunday.

There is no classroom education at any school, except for the final year of high school students.

The curfew will be relaxed on May 27, when it is to be pushed back to 10.30 p.m. daily, with nightclubs getting the green light.

Turkish Cypriot health authorities have reported 6,750 cases and 33 deaths since the pandemic started in March last year.

Turkish Cypriots have vaccinated 123,791 people, with 72,644 people receiving the first dose of a COVID-19 jab and 51,147 people receiving both shots.

The north is basing its vaccination rollout on the Chinese Sinovac, sent in large quantities from Turkey, and Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines sent to the Turkish Cypriot community from the European Union via the Republic of Cyprus.

Republic of Cyprus authorities has so far reported 70,098 COVID-19 cases and 339 deaths. Combined, divided Cyprus has recorded 76,848 cases and 372 deaths.