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Coronavirus: Turkish Cypriot doctors sue ‘government’ over arrivals policy

Turkish Cypriot doctors plan on suing the ‘government’ over its decision to allow as of this week entry to visitors from high risk countries without quarantine, reports said on Tuesday.

According to media reports in the north, the Turkish Cypriot doctors’ association is seeking an annulment of the ‘government’ decision to allow entry into the north of passengers from high-risk countries from July 1 without quarantine. Head of the association Ozlem Gurkut reportedly said that if the court freezes the decision, then entry to the north will be allowed only if people are quarantined.

Doctors in the north have expressed their concerns over the decision to allow passengers to arrive without being quarantined after Turkish Cypriot authorities included Turkey on the list of countries deemed safer than others. Turkey has now been placed in group B, according to the lists announced by the ‘health ministry’.

Gurkut said despite passengers being tested for coronavirus prior to their arrival and upon arrival in the north, there was possibility of not detecting positive cases among them. She also said that there was a risk that three out of 100 passengers carrying the virus would go undetected as the tests might not show they have Covid-19.

According to Gurkut, they were forced to take to the courts because they expected the ‘government’ to take more realistic steps and make decisions in line with the warnings of the experts.

She said the north’s health system was not ready for an outbreak.

“Our pandemic organisation has not been completed. In the case there are many Covid-19 cases, we will have serious problems,” Gurkut was quoted saying by media in the north.

The doctors’ announcement comes after uproar concerning the arrival in the north of a woman from Turkey by ferry who was tested positive to coronavirus.

‘Health minister’ Ali Pilli initially said on Monday that the woman, who arrived with her child, admitted she knew she had coronavirus and that they did not know how she was allowed on the ship. Later in the same day, Pilli announced that both the woman and her child, who were admitted to hospital for observation, tested negative to the virus.

Pilli also said that of the 19 people onboard, 17 had come in contact with the woman and have been quarantined and would also be tested.

In the meantime, Tymbou airport in the north is getting ready to receive its first passengers on Wednesday, with around 400 people expected to arrive from Turkey on flights landing at 2.20am and 4am.

According to Yeni Duzen, crews were working full speed on Tuesday to prepare for the arrival of passengers by setting by up the areas where people will get tested as soon as they arrive. Thermal cameras were also installed while travellers will be asked to wear protective masks. No one except the passengers will be allowed into the airport.



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