COVID19: Turkish Cypriots struggling with new wave

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As the Republic reported a record high of 952 new COVID-19 cases, Turkish Cypriots also have a hard time containing a resurgence of infections.

On Wednesday, Turkish Cypriot health authorities reported 97 new cases of COVID-19, taking the island-wide total for the day to 1049.

While daily cases in the Republic continue to ratchet three digits, Turkish Cypriots authorities have also seen cases shoot up.

Authorities in the Turkish occupied north kept daily cases below 50 through June, reaching 776 infections for the month.

The picture has been overturned in July, with 504 cases reported.

Authorities also attribute the outbreak to the Delta variant and people not observing measures in place.

Much like the Republic, authorities in the north are identifying most cases among unvaccinated younger people contracting the virus at social gatherings.

Reportedly, the epicentre of the outbreak is Kyrenia, where in early July, 98 cases were found in the town and 372 in over a month.

Local authorities in Kyrenia say personal hygiene measures and health protocols are not being observed at bars, night clubs and social events.

Doctors have sounded the alarm over the rise in cases pushing the health system to its limits.

The COVID-19 reference hospital in north Nicosia warned it is reaching its limits.

It said patients are getting younger, recording a sharp increase in patients under 40.

The reference hospital is catering to 50 patients, while another 545 people are being monitored at hotels.

In comments to Turkish Cypriot Daily YeniDuzen, epidemiologist Dr Nesil Bayraktar said the average age of people found to be infected with the Delta variation was 30.

He said health authorities have only recently started sending out samples to be tested for the Delta variant to a lab in France.

The second batch of samples was sent on Wednesday.

The epidemiologist expressed concern over the effectiveness of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine, which is the main COVID-19 jab used to inoculate Turkish Cypriots.

“Currently, there is data for the Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and the Johnson Johnson vaccines effectiveness on the Delta variant. However, not much research has been done on the Sinovac vaccine.”

According to data, 33.2% of the population in the north has received a jab and 23.9% both shots.

The Cyprus Republic reported 80,588 cases and 380 deaths, while the north has 8,601 and 35 dead.

Overall, divided Cyprus has confirmed 89,189 cases and 415 deaths.