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Coronavirus: Gradually reopening checkpoints would be ‘logical arrangement’

Gradually reopening the checkpoints would be a logical step forward from a scientific viewpoint, one of the health ministry’s advisors on the coronavirus said on Sunday.

On Monday, five members of the team are set to have a teleconference with the bicommunal technical committee on health. They are set to discuss how checks could be carried out during crossings and what the north will do to avoid importing cases from Tureky.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency, professor of microbiology and molecular virology at the University of Nicosia Medical School, Petros Karayiannis said the aim was to have an exchange of viewpoints from each side.

Karayiannis said he hoped the climate was positive so as to determine if the picture from the north reflected reality. The discussion is not political, he outlined but purely scientific.

The government’s team also wants to know what the north will do to ensure there are no imported coronavirus cases from Turkey when air and sea connections with Turkey resume.

Commenting on the government controlled areas, Karayiannis most of the coronavirus cases of the past few days were imported and one two cases were found through contact tracing which could have been older.

The key focus lies less with the number of cases but more so with the number of patients in hospital. For weeks no new patients have been admitted to the hospital due to serious complication of the virus, Karayiannis said.

“The same is happening with those intubated, as the number remains stable…all this tells us there is no community transmission.”

Asked on reopening the checkpoints, Karayiannis said it would be a logical arrangement to gradually reopen the checkpoints.

In the same way that measures in the government controlled areas were relaxed gradually, the approach should be similar, where progress is reviewed before moving to another phase.

On Tuesday, the health experts will meet with President Nicos Anastasiades to discuss entering the third phase and it is possible the matter of reopening the checkpoints will also be discussed, Karayiannis said.

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