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Coronavirus: Photiou holds extraordinary meeting on enclaved (Updated)

File photo: Unficyp soldiers delivering food to Greek Cypriot villagers in Rizokarpaso

The Presidential Commissioner’s office decided on Friday to form a small group to advise enclaved Greek Cypriots living in the Turkish-occupied Karpas peninsula, on self-protection measures against coronavirus.

The development comes after several villages in the north were reportedly placed under quarantine. A 24-hour hot line will also become available for local Greek Cypriots seeking advice.

Decisions were taken on Friday morning during an extraordinary meeting, under Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou.

Medicine, delivered to the enclaved through the Red Cross and Unficyp will be delivered as usual. Food deliveries, however, were halted, due to measures against Covid-19 in the north.

Photiou said that according to the information available, there is no Covid-19 case among the enclaved in the Karpas.

“Our obligation is to advise and protect our people, even if this is done from a distance, and we will do everything possible to advise them on how to protect themselves,” he said, noting the presence of many elderly among the enclaved.

The Presidential Commissioner said that if the problem with food delivery persists next week, they will examine the possibility of giving an extraordinary food allowance. In this case, a proposal will be submitted to the Cabinet for approval.

A 24-hour helpline has been enabled to support the Greek Cypriots living in Rizokarpaso, Ayia Triada, and other areas. The numbers are: 22400108, 22400160 and 00905338460199

Meanwhile, the UN said preventing the spread of Covid-19 while continuing humanitarian deliveries is a key priority for the UN peacekeeping force, Unficyp spokesman, Aleem Siddique said on Friday.

He was asked to comment on the disruption of food deliveries to enclaved Greek Cypriots living in villages, in the Karpas peninsula in the north due to measures imposed by the Turkish Cypriot side aiming to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“We take the concerns of the affected individuals living in the north extremely seriously. Preventing the potential spread of Covid-19 while we continue humanitarian deliveries is a key priority for Unficyp,” Siddique said.

“We have stepped up efforts to prevent the spread of the virus by minimising the number of personnel required to deliver humanitarian supplies and having robust hygiene, sanitation and social distancing measures in place for all our peacekeepers” he added.

The mission continues to follow the guidance of WHO, UN headquarters and the local authorities as the situation evolves, the Unficyp spokesman concluded.

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