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Coronavirus: another 6,000 AZ jabs delivered to north

feature agnieska deserted central north nicosia
Deserted central area in the north of Nicosia. There are also calls for the crossings to re-open

Another 6,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses were delivered on Monday to the Turkish Cypriot side through the technical committee on health amidst complaints that the north gets much fewer jabs than its fair share. 

Turkish Cypriot co-chair of the technical committee on health, Cenk Soydan, said on Monday that 6,000 AstraZeneca doses were delivered in the morning through the Ayios Dhometios crossing.

The delivery is part of the vaccine doses secured for Cyprus by the EU.

So far, 30,050 doses have been delivered to the north: 10,350 Pfizer/BioNTech and 19,700 AstraZeneca.  Turkey has also sent 140,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine.

In the north too people were avoiding the AstraZeneca vaccine after it was linked with rare blood clots. This prompted authorities to announce that people over 40 who want to get the AstraZeneca vaccine, can do so without any appointment, which sparked interest among people in their early forties. In the north they are now vaccinating people under 50 with chronic conditions.

Protests were raised however in the north over the reduced number of vaccine doses the Turkish Cypriot community has been receiving from the ones secured for Cyprus by the EU.

Head of main opposition Republican Turkish Party (CTP), Tufan Erhurman, said in a tweet that the EU has sent so far 482,965 vaccine doses but only around 6.3 per cent of those quantities have been delivered to the Turkish Cypriot community even though the agreed amount was 20 per cent.

Erhurman said that neither was the EU’s attitude acceptable nor that of the Turkish Cypriot leadership that was failing to get the number of doses their community deserves.

A protest has been announced for Tuesday morning at the Ayios Dhometios crossing by representatives of various business sectors against the slow distribution of vaccines to the north.

The Economic Organisations Platform said the process was not being done fairly, according to the population ratio. Due to restrictions, a small number of representatives of various sectors will take part. The protest is organised by the construction contractors association (KTİMB), the Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Commerce (KTTO), the chamber of Industry (KTSO) and the hoteliers association (KITOB).

In the meantime, both Erhurman but also Kudret Ozersay’s People’s Party (HP), called for the opening of the crossing points. 

Erhurman, in response to the statement by ‘prime minister’ Ersan Saner that it was not them who closed the crossings, said it was not important who closed them that they are simultaneously opened in both sides through cooperation between the experts of the two communities. Erhurman called on the ‘government’ to establish this dialogue if it realises the importance of relations and economic activities between the two communities and if it has the intention.

HP too, after a visit by a delegation of the party, headed by Ozersay, to markets in Nicosia and Famagusta called on the ‘government’ to allow 24-hour crossings after the Bayram holidays for those with negative PCR test certificates.

The party, citing the bad economic situation of many shop owners, argued that if people can cross from the south, it would give a financial boost to businesses including petrol stations, supermarkets, and pharmacies

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