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‘We put our lives on the line’
The head nurse at the general hospital in Nicosia Fatma Savaşkan told Yenidüzen about their experiences during the Covid-19 process: “It was an enormous burden but we succeeded.” “I was only sleeping two hours a night and during those two hours, I would have nightmares about my nurses having contracted the virus. I cannot recall a time in my life where I talked so much on the phone. This was a situation which no one predicted. Every step we took was a new experience,” she said.
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Thousands of homes for rent are now empty
In addition to the tourism and education sectors, the real estate sector also took a heavy blow due to the coronavirus pandemic. Thousands of students and workers who decided to return to their countries vacated the homes they were renting.
TRNC Police carried out a raid named after the world’s most famous drug lord to catch Mahmud Mustafa and Salih Aygın who had transformed a villa in Karşıyaka (Vasileia) into a marijuana greenhouse.
- Greek Cypriots uncomfortable – Cyprus’s hellim (halloumi) being produced for Turkish brand Pınar being sold in Arab countries and Turkey.
- Resuming from where they left off – Primary and secondary schools in South Cyprus to open on May 21 after high schools opened earlier this month.
- No positive cases – No positive cases were detected in North Cyprus in the 203 tests carried out.
- Case numbers reach 914 – 1564 tests carried out in South Cyprus. Four new cases detected.
- Loss of life 4096 – The total number of cases in Turkey reached 148,067 with 1610 new cases.
Open…open…open the crossing points
While restrictions regarding the coronavirus pandemic have been eased on both sides of the island, it is not certain when the crossing points will be opened. A solution has yet to be found for the workers who work or the students who study in the south. The government spokesman in the south, Kyriakos Kousios said that the decision will be made when the conditions are right in light of the recommendations of health experts. Kousios also said they were not rejecting the call made by the UN Secretary-General for dialogue. He said they were open to the possibility of a meeting between Anastasiades and Akıncı, reminding that political criteria had not played a role when they had decided to shut the four crossing points.
- Head of the Basic Health Services Department: the Greek Cypriots’ decision was right – “We followed the process closely following the first confirmed case out of China preparing for the pandemic individually and as a society,” said Dr Figen İnce.
- Four new cases in the South, two of them students – Four new cases were detected in the South yesterday (Saturday) of the1564 tests carried out. Two of the confirmed cases were students. All 203 tests carried out in the North came back negative.
Turkey slams EU declaration on East MedYenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
EU Matters, Energy, Regional/International Relations
EU foreign minister’s declaration on the latest developments in the eastern Mediterranean is the “last example of a fruitless discourse,” Turkey’s foreign ministry spokesperson said Saturday.
It serves “no purpose,” said Hami Aksoy.
He said the approach, encircled by Greece and South Cyprus’ illegitimate claims, which ignores Turkey’s well-meaning efforts, has no chance of contributing to regional peace and stability.
“Having failed to show solidarity in the fight with novel coronavirus, it is interesting that the EU shows it unconditionally when it is about South Cyprus,” he said.
“Instead of blindly supporting Greece and Greek Cyprus, what EU needs to do is to show common sense, and act in line with Turkey and TRNC’s [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus] legitimate rights and international law. As always, we want to repeat that we are open to a just dialogue,” Aksoy added.
EU foreign ministers held a videoconference meeting Thursday and published a declaration that urged Turkey to “respect EU countries’ maritime jurisdiction and sovereignty in territorial waters.”
Also on Saturday, Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ersin Tatar defended Turkey’s activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, stating that Ankara could not be prevented from seeking its rights and interests stemming from international law.
Tatar said the European Union (EU) foreign ministers’ declaration, had once against demonstrated the EU’s lack of vision or recognition for the rule of law by adopting a pro-Greek Cypriot stance.
He said the EU continued to ignore the rights of Turkish Cypriots and Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean.
“Contrary to the claims and arguments of the EU and Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots and Turkey are conducting hydrocarbon drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean through rights stemming from international law. As a result, no one has the right to criticize or prevent these efforts,” he said.
Tatar argued that it was the Greek Cypriot side which was violating international law by rejecting the Turkish side’s compromising stance and proceeding with its activities unilaterally.
He added that the EU was also thwarting efforts for a political settlement on the island by adopting a biased stance in favour of the Greek Cypriot side.
>> EU foreign minister’s declaration is the “last example of a fruitless discourse.
>> The approach, based on Greece & GC side’s illegitimate claims, has no chance of contributing to regional peace & stability.
>> EU needs to exercise common sense & acting in line with Turkey & TCs’ legitimate rights & int’l law, instead of blindly supporting Greece/GC side.
>> Turkey is open to dialogue.
>> Ankara cannot be prevented from seeking its rights & interests stemming from int’l law.
>> The declaration demonstrates the EU’s lack of vision or recognition for the rule of law by displaying a pro-Greek Cypriot stance.
>> EU continues to ignore the rights of TCs & Turkey in the East Med.
>> Contrary to EU’s & GC’s claims, TC’s & Turkey’s hydrocarbon activities stem from int’l law. No one has the right to criticize or prevent these efforts.
>> EU is thwarting efforts for a political settlement on the island by adopting a biased stance in favour of the GC side.
“The GC side did well by closing the crossing points,” senior TC doctor saysYenidüzen, Kıbrıs Postası, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog, Afrika
Internal Security, CBMs
“The Greek Cypriot side did well by closing the crossing points. If it was me, I would have done the same. The coronavirus had arrived on the island and the main hospital in the north was partially burnt down,” Dr Figen İnce, director of the basic health services department in the north said on Saturday.
Speaking to Bayrak, İnce said the threat of the coronavirus had been identified by the Turkish Cypriot health ministry as earlier January.
She explained that the health ministry had held its first meeting on January 23, a month before the first case was detected on March 9.
“Today’s success is not a coincidence,” İnce stressed and recalled her colleagues had started preparations well in advance.
“We preparations were carried out in two phases. The first one was the overall health system. The communication networks of the doctors and the nurses, equipment, supplies… We tabled everything and started our preparations. The second phase was preparing the community,” İnce noted.
She added everyone did their jobs well and that staff were regularly trained on pandemics.
İnce argued the north was probably one of the first places to have implemented strict measures against coronavirus. “We have successfully fought against the pandemic,” İnce concluded.