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Cyprus

Coronavirus: Two sides brief each other on virus data

Closed Ledra Street crossing point (Christos Theodorides)

The island’s two communities on Monday briefed each other on the epidemiological situation on each side before any decisions are taken for easing restrictions on crossing points.

The two-hour teleconference included members of the bicommunal Technical Committee on Health, along with experts from both sides.

Greek Cypriot head of the committee, Leonidas Phylactou, tweeted after the end of the meeting that they mainly discussed the “epidemiological picture in the free and occupied areas”.

Phylactou told the Cyprus News Agency that opening the crossings was a political decision.

He added that the Greek Cypriot side had sent the Turkish Cypriots last Friday the latest national epidemiological study.

“Today we focused on exchanging views and informing each other,” he said. He added that the Greek Cypriot scientists asked the Turkish Cypriots about epidemiological data, hospitalisation in the north, the drugs administered and the tests performed.

Phylactou said the Turkish Cypriot side said they attribute their low number of cases to the timely and strict measures taken. In total 108 coronavirus cases, including four deaths, were announced in the north so far, while there have been no new cases for several weeks. Until Monday, 31,915 coronavirus tests were given in total.

Phylactou said they did not get into details as regards the opening of the crossings.

“We did not go into details, the discussion was an informative one. Whether the crossing points open will be a political decision,” Phylactou told CNA.

He said there might be a second meeting soon.

Turkish Cypriot coordinator of the technical committees, Meltem Onurkan Samani, reportedly said that the epidemiological data on both sides were scientifically similar.

She added that if this continues, it has been agreed that it would be possible to gradually remove restrictions at crossing points in a coordinated manner in line with the agreement reached by the two leaders on May 21 and the guidelines by the World Health Organisation.

President Nicos Anastasiades will preside over a meeting on Tuesday morning with the advisory committee on coronavirus, where they are expected to discuss the next round of restriction relaxations.

The two leaders had announced on May 21 that they had agreed that as of June 8 some groups of people will be allowed to use the crossings between the two sides such as  Turkish Cypriots working, studying or undergoing treatment in the south and the enclaved and Maronites who reside permanently in the north.

Despite the agreement between the two leaders, the Turkish Cypriot ‘government’ had said they were the ones to decide but have not made any announcements yet.

This has led to reactions by Turkish Cypriots who live in the north and work in the south who continue protests asking to be allowed to cross daily to get to their workplaces.

The workers said they would hold another protest on Tuesday outside ‘parliament’.

In the meantime, Turkish Cypriots living in the mixed village of Pyla who had been banned from crossing to the north due to the coronavirus restrictions, will now be allowed to do so under conditions.

According to reports in the north, the Turkish Cypriots living in Pyla who wish to cross to the north to get to their workplaces, will have to sign a declaration that they will not be going to the government-controlled areas or have any contacts with Greek Cypriots, to prevent the risk of the spread of Covid-19.

 



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