Front Page Headlines
“Cheaper kits, more people”
Experts, who point out that single-use testing kits are too expensive, say that the health ministry officials need to get hold of cheaper but reliable kits. They said more people could be tested and faster by using cheaper kits.
- “14-day partial curfew” – What is allowed? Going to the supermarket, to the pharmacy, bank and petrol station. What is not allowed? Taking walks, picnics, house visits.
- Meeting at Prime Ministry) Economic package being announced tomorrow (Tuesday).
- Economic proposals from CTP.
- Republican Turkish Party (CTP) MP Dr Sıla Usar İncirli warned: “There is a risk of a pandemic but not enough preparation.”
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Partial curfew imposed
The Council of Ministers adopted a new decision to prevent the spread of coronavirus that will cover a 14-day period. Those who are permitted to work in the private sector and the emergency services personnel in the public sector are exempt from the curfew. People will only be allowed to leave their homes for grocery shopping, to go to the pharmacy or hospital and to buy petrol. Police will detain those who violate the partial curfew.
- Economic measures to be announced tomorrow (Tuesday) – Prime Minister Ersin Tatar and his deputy Kudret Özersay met with the leaders of political parties with seats in the parliament. Tatar said “the measures to be announced must be supported by the people” and added he has had meetings with relevant stakeholders.
- 1140 pills at the hospital stocks disappeared in one day – Eight or nine healthcare workers at the Famagusta state hospital prescribed Plaquenil, which is used in the treatment of coronavirus, in hundreds melting down stocks.
- 30 died in Turkey from coronavirus – Three new cases in the north and 11 in the south. The total number of confirmed cases in the north reached 38 in the north and 95 in the south. 30 people have died from coronavirus in Turkey so far with 1256 confirmed cases.
- Three German tourists will remain isolated in a safe–zone at the Salamis Hotel.
They’re going to cut salaries to pay salaries
The government has taken a series of decisions to mitigate the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. These decisions were shared with the leaders of political parties with seats in the parliament. The state needs ₺500m (approx. €70.6m) to make payments at the end of the month. The government has decided to cut 25 per cent of salaries above ₺4000 (approx. €570) in order to save ₺56m (approx. €7.9m).
- “A massive wreckage will be what’s left” – Cafer Gürcafer, head of the Turkish Cypriot Building Contractors Association, talked to Havadis regarding the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Turkish Cypriot economy.
- Going out for fun or visiting friends and relatives is banned.
- 11 new cases in the south and three in the north.
- 30 died from coronavirus in Turkey.
- Police says there are no escapees from the River Side hotel.
They’re looking for ₺2bn
No outcome emerged from the meeting held between the government and political party leaders on economic measures to be adopted. Some of the political party leaders expressed the view during the meeting that there will be a need for ₺2bn (approx. €282m) until the end of the year. They said that financial assistance from Turkey was essential. The leader of the main opposition CTP Tufan Erhürman told Diyalog that the government had not presented them with a detailed programme. Peoples’ Party (HP) leader Yenal Senin said the government claimed it could collect the ₺500m (approx. €70.6m) for salaries this month. The leader of the Social Democratic Party (TDP) Cemal Özyiğit said, “It is vital that Turkey gives the ₺1.4m (approx. €198,000) put aside for the TRNC now.” The leader of the Rebirth Party (YDP) said they wanted a long-term programme from the government.
- Arrest for those who violate it – TRNC government declares partial curfew within the framework of coronavirus measures.
- Three new cases – The number of cases in the north has risen to 38.
- Total of 95 – 11 new coronavirus cases in the south
- Headache – The 175 undocumented migrants who were left at the shores of the Karpaz (Karpasia) are not being sent to Turkey. A second boat carrying 100 persons is circling in our waters.
The government finally took the decision putting it into force. A curfew came into place in the TRNC as of midnight. Özersay said: house visits, outings, picnics and sports training outdoors are all banned. Those who violate the ban will be arrested and taken to the police station. The curfew will be in force for 14 months. Citizens will only be able to go out to purchase goods and services which are permitted. Once their needs are met they will return to their residences. Those exempt from the curfew have also been announced by the Council of Ministers.
- The number of cases in Cyprus reaches 133 – Three new cases in the north and 11 in the south. The total number of cases in the north, along with the three who recovered has reached 38. The new cases were people who had been in contact with a couple who returned from the UK and had tested positive. The figure reached 95 in the south with the latest 11 cases. The total number of cases on the island has reached 133.
- No one has slipped out of quarantine! –Claims by Alsancak (Karavas) mayor Ataser turned out to be false. Police falsified claims that two students staying at River Side Hotel under quarantine had escaped. All were accounted for. Police said all 256 people were at the hotel.
- We now have local cases –Head of the Turkish Cypriot Doctors’ Association Özlem Gürkut said that the first cases of coronavirus in the country were seen in tourists. “They were not locals and they had been infected elsewhere. However, the case detected yesterday was infected here. What does that mean? It means that we will start seeing cases in our local population,” she said. Gürkut added, “We have to be careful now and act accordingly as anyone around us could have the virus. We need to follow the rules. We are working for you. We shall be in unity and solidarity during these difficult times.”
- Ali Pilli: “Those who refuse to come in for testing will be brought in with a police escort.”
Partial curfew imposed amid rising number of casesYenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
A partial curfew was announced in the north on Sunday, restricting the movement of people with few exceptions as part of further efforts to combat the coronavirus spread.
The decision came just hours before another three people tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number in the north to 38.
He said that all three Turkish Cypriots had come into contact with confirmed cases.
While the news of the curfew was initially announced by Turkish Cypriot Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay on social media, a decree was published by the cabinet hours later.
All individuals, with the exception of private sector personnel who are permitted to work towards addressing basic needs as well as public sector personnel who provide crucial services (police, fire department, municipalities, civil defence, district offices etc.), will be subject to the partial curfew.
Anyone else will only be allowed to leave their residences to visit supermarkets, pharmacies and seek medical treatment, the cabinet decision said.
All individuals must return to their residences as soon as their needs have been met and should not leave their premises for any other purpose.
Those who do not comply with the partial curfew will be detained by the police and charged.
The curfew will remain in place for 14 days.
In an earlier statement on Sunday, Pilli renewed his appeal to the public not to leave the house, urging them to contact authorities if they have any symptoms.
He also said anyone suffering from any one of the Covid-19 symptoms must first call the Health Ministry hotline (1102) instead of going straight to a hospital.
“By staying at home, you would actually help the medical personnel to do their work better. We want to keep the pandemic at the level it currently is now and we can only do so with solidarity,” Pilli said.
He said a student from the UK who arrived on Saturday but was later taken to the Dr Burhan Nabantoğlu hospital after developing a fever had tested negative for the virus.
Also, Pilli said that those who refused to come into testing will be brought to the hospital with a police escort.
In the meantime, reports were circulating on some media outlets on Sunday, claiming that two students under mandatory quarantine at the River Side hotel in Alsancak (Karavas) had run away.
The rumours took further flight after Mayor of Alsancak (Karavas) Fırat Ataser, who had objected a day earlier to the decision by the authorities to put up the students at the hotel, that the claim was true.
The hotel’s manager denied the rumours and police statement several hours later rejected the claims, stating that all students were accounted for.
“There are now a total of 256 people at the hotel after one student was taken to hospital on Saturday. The hotel is being secured by the police at all times,” the statement read.
Turkish Cypriot Economy and Energy Minister Hasan Taçoy on Sunday confirmed that the quarantine at the Salamis Hotel in Famagusta, where the first cases of coronavirus were seen on the island, would be lifted on 24 March with the departure of the German tourists.
Meanwhile, efforts to address the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Turkish Cypriot economy continued to dominate the government’s agenda on Sunday.
The cabinet, chaired by Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ersin Tatar met with leaders of the political parties with seats in parliament to discuss a support package which the government plans to implement to help limit the coronavirus-related impact on the economy.
Speaking before the meeting, Tatar said that there was a general consensus among all economic stakeholders for the need to implement economic measures which were what they were trying to do.
He added it was important to adopt measures which will receive the support of the general public.
Tatar pointed out that the country was going through a difficult phase never seen before and expressed the hope that everything will recovery in the shortest period of time.
He said that the government would be announcing its support package on Tuesday.
The leader of the main opposition CTP Tufan Erhürman told Diyalog after the meeting that the government had not presented them with a detailed programme.
While the leader of the Peoples’ Party (HP) Yenal Senin told the daily the government claimed it could collect the ₺500m (approx. €70.6m) for salaries this month, the leader of the Social Democratic Party (TDP) Cemal Özyiğit said, “It is vital that Turkey gives the ₺1.4m (approx. €198,000) put aside for the TRNC now.”
The leader of the Rebirth Party (YDP) on the other hand said they wanted a long-term programme from the government.
In view of the economic concerns, President Mustafa Akıncı announced the establishment of the “Economy Advisory Board” on Sunday.
A statement issued from Akıncı’s office said, “The board will provide recommendations on the fiscal and financial measures to be implemented with the aim of lowering the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic in the north.”
The board consists of former finance ministers and undersecretaries, chamber representatives as well as academicians and trade unionists. President’s economy advisor Prof Dr Ömer Gökçekuş will direct the efforts of the board and will be chaired by Akıncı himself.
The Republican Turkish Party (CTP) on Sunday presented its own set of proposals to the government on the economy which aimed at increasing domestic revenues as well as examining foreign borrowing options from Turkey, the European Union and other international organisations.
The proposals read out by CTP leader Tufan Erhürman include the introduction of wage support for daily workers, unemployment support to firms that were closed because of the outbreak to prevent layoffs, supporting the Unemployment Insurance Fund, postponing VAT and income tax payments, social security premium and Provident Fund deposits for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and postponing income and corporate tax which companies have to pay in May and June till the last economic quarter of the year.
Erhürman said that these proposed measures would not apply to banks, insurance companies, GSM operators, fuel importers and petrol stations, supermarkets and pharmacies which continue to operate during the crisis.
He also proposed for the additional cash needs to be covered by advances taken out from the TRNC Development Bank and TRNC Central Bank or through internal borrowing.
The proposals, he added, include the creation of special loan schemes for smaller companies and businesses as well as covering loans of micro-businesses or SME debts through the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund.
Also on Sunday, the Evkaf Administration announced it had started distributing goods and hygiene packages to those in need.
Evkaf Administration, in a written statement, said they have distributed one thousand packages on Sunday.
Five thousand packages have already been distributed to the six districts.
Syrian migrants to be placed in proper accommodationYenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
Migration & Citizenship, Human Rights
The 175 undocumented Syrian migrants who were rescued by Turkish Cypriot authorities on Saturday after their boat capsized off the coast of İskele (Trikomo) will be housed in proper facilities, the Turkish Cypriot Interior Minister Ayşegül Baybars said on Sunday.
In a written statement, Baybars said that it was necessary to move the migrants to more proper accommodation both for their safety and security as well as for the public’s safety.
She added that the families were to be moved on Sunday followed by the remaining members of the group on Monday.
All were being temporarily placed at a sports hall in İskele (Trikomo).
Diyalog newspaper reported that the group of 175 migrants would not be deported for the time being.
It also claimed that another boat carrying around 100 migrants was currently circling off the western coast.