COVID19: Turkish Cypriot health system under pressure

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Turkish Cypriot authorities warn their health system is under immense pressure from a new outbreak of coronavirus cases driven by the Delta variant.

As in the Republic, Turkish Cypriots have also reported record cases, peaking at 133 last Thursday.

On Monday, 118 new daily cases were confirmed, with the ruling coalition calling an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss possible measures.

On Sunday, the first death in a month was reported in the north, taking the total to 36.

Authorities in the Turkish occupied north of the island fear that July will be the worst month on record, as they have already reported 1,087 cases in the first 12 days of the month.

The worst month of the pandemic so far, was April with 1,879 cases.

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

Head of the COVID-19 Referral Hospital in north Nicosia, Dr Erol Ucaner, said that more than 700 patients had requested medical attention in the past week.

He said that people seeking help are usually under 65, among whom vaccination coverage is low.

The head of the Turkish Cypriot Doctors’ Union, Ozlem Gurkut, said medics are concerned that the public is not observing health protocols, facilitating the spread of the more contagious Delta variant.

Gurkut noted that doctors and nursing staff are under pressure as hospitals and wards in clinics assigned to COVID-19 patients have reached capacity.

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

The head of the health services in the north, Unal Ustel, said everyone over 18 had been called to get a vaccine, with people aged 18 to 40 reluctant to do so.

Turkish Cypriots mainly use the Chines Sinopharm sent in from Turkey, and Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson&Johnson shots delivered by the Republic.

On Monday, the Cyprus Republic reported another 832 cases, taking the total to 85,104, and 380 deaths, while the north has 9,184 infections and 36 dead.

Overall, divided Cyprus has confirmed 94,288 cases and 416 deaths.