Vaccinations in the north will start on January 15, with Sinovac, the Chinese vaccine to be delivered to the Turkish Cypriot community by Turkey, it was reported on Monday.
In the meantime, Turkish Cypriot authorities are also investigating whether the mutated variant of Covid-19, first detected in the UK, is also present in the north.
‘Health minister’ Ali Pilli told Yeni Duzen that vaccinations in the north will start on January 15 with vaccines Turkey purchased from China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. Priority will be given to the elderly living in nursing homes and health care workers.
The Turkish Cypriot side is to also receive part of the Pfizer vaccines the EU secured for the Republic of Cyprus.
As regards the vaccines sent by the EU, Pilli said the Turkish Cypriot community has submitted its request and action plan last week through the bicommunal technical committee on health and the UN.
He said that as soon as they arrive, they will be immediately used as well.
Pilli said they have secured two special refrigerators where 300,000 vaccines can be stored at minus 75 degrees Celsius.
The daily reported that the technical committee will meet by teleconference this week and that Turkish Cypriot officials and experts will receive online training as regards the vaccines.
Pilli, in statements to BRT radio and television said that they would also send samples to Turkey for lab tests to examine whether the new variant of the virus has arrived in the north. The new variant, VOC 202012/01, has been found in the government-controlled areas on 12 people who had arrived from the UK and tested positive for coronavirus.
Another Covid-19 related death was announced in the north on Sunday, the second in a week, bringing the number of deaths to eight.
A 77-year-old woman who had serious underlying conditions died on Sunday. On Friday, an 84-year-old man with coronavirus who also had serious underlying conditions died.
On Sunday 34 new cases were announced in the north, 18 of which concerned local transmission.
The rise in local transmissions has alarmed authorities in the north that tightened measures against the further spread of the virus.