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Coronavirus: Fourteen new cases as north discusses tougher penalties

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Fourteen new coronavirus cases were reported in the north on Monday, as Turkish Cypriot parties discussed the amendment of the ‘law’ on infectious diseases as regards penalties for offenders.

As coronavirus cases announced in the north continue to be in the double-digits, ‘parliament’ held an extraordinary session to amend the ‘law’ on infectious diseases in a bid to reportedly allow the ‘health ministry’ to issue decrees and penalties for those violating them.

The north announced 14 more cases later in the day. One came by ferry, ten were already in quarantine and were contacts of previously confirmed cases, and three were local cases.

Turkish Cypriot authorities also announced that they put Liechtenstein, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia and Georgia from category A to B, meaning that passengers from these countries will remain in quarantine for one week upon their arrival in the north.

No changes have been announced as regards crossings. People living in the north who work, study or receive treatment in the Greek Cypriot side but also those who want to cross between the two sides will be able to do so by furnishing a negative PCR test certificate the first time they cross. These people will be given random PCR tests at the crossings.

The Greek Cypriot side continues to allow crossings for special groups between the two sides with a one-off test. Greek and Turkish Cypriots and permanent residents of the Republic of Cyprus can also cross but only after they show a negative PCR test certificate not older than 72 hours.

In the meantime, the ‘health ministry’ announced on Sunday it has signed an agreement with another hotel which will be hosting people who must be quarantined due to the coronavirus measures in place. It added that the head of the Rebirth Party and election candidate Erhan Arikli, who tested positive to Covid-19, has also been placed for quarantine in that hotel. An ‘MP’ of the same party, Bertan Zaroglu, was sent to Ankara for treatment, following an agreement with Turkey to transfer patients there with ambulance planes to help decongest the Turkish Cypriot health system.

‘Prime minister’ Ersin Tatar last week had announced that Covid-19 patient transfers to Turkey had started.

Turkish Cypriots temporarily halted inbound flights to the north last week citing inadequate quarantine space for arriving passengers. Though it was initially announced the measures would be in place until September 13, the airport is now expected to start receiving inbound flights on Wednesday.

Turkish Cypriot authorities require people arriving from category B countries to quarantine for seven days, and people from category C countries for 14 days. People testing positive to coronavirus are also quarantined as are their contacts. These people stay in hotels monitored by authorities.

 

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