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Coronavirus: Experts worried by positive tests on migrants arriving from north

The Pournara camp at Kokkinotrimithia

Experts on Monday expressed concern after five coronavirus cases concerning migrants who crossed over from the north, having arrived from Syria through Turkey, were detected.

The Cyprus Mail has learned that the five were part of a group of 12 that crossed into the Republic on Friday near Akaki, a route often used by migrants to enter.

University of Nicosia professor of molecular virology Petros Karayiannis said it was concerning because no one knew if these people had come into contact with others.

It was fortunate that they were spotted and tested before being placed into the reception centre at Pournara, Karayiannis said.

Leontios Kostrikkis, also a member of the state’s epidemiology team and a professor of molecular virology, also appeared concerned with the situation in general

The five were among seven cases announced on Sunday. The other two were a footballer from Serbia and a woman in Paphos.

Kostrikkis said the team will propose placing Serbia in category C since it is considered a high-risk country.

“Serbia must be placed in category C,” he said. In this category, only Cypriot citizens and permanent residents are allowed into Cyprus and must self-isolate for 14 days.

Two other football players from Serbia have also tested positive in the last couple of weeks.

The professor said the team has not yet discussed the detection of seven cases but he added that “the ease with which these irregular migrants enter from the occupied areas” is worrying.

Kostrikkis wondered whether the Turkish Cypriots knowingly allowed the migrants to cross or if they had no idea it was happening, which raised the question on the real situation in the north relating to coronavirus incidents.

Before crossing, did these people “come into contact with people in the occupied areas; are their contacts being traced?”

He said he was also concerned over the migrants’ processing after their arrival and them coming into contact with police officers and other officials involved with the reception centres.

 

 



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