The two Cypriot leaders of divided Cyprus co-chaired a health meeting on Monday and agreed to increase cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus.
Republic of Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, the Greek Cypriot leader, and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, chaired together a meeting of the Bicommunal Technical Committee on Health in light of measures taken by both communities against the spread of the Wuhan virus.
'The moral lesson here is that despite our disagreements and differences of opinion, we cannot ignore dangers that push us all towards joining forces and acting together'
The two leaders, who met at Nicosia's Ledra Palace in the UN buffer zone, agreed to increase their cooperation and even provide assistance if necessary in order to take all necessary measures so that the two communities can provide as much protection as possible to the Cypriot peopleagainst coronavirus.
According to a joint statement by the health committee, cooperation would include exchanging information on measures taken by the two communities, including screening. It was also noted that Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot authorities have collaborated on managing health issues in the past.
Following the meeting, Anastasiades reiterated his message of cooperation during opening remarks at a bicommunal art exhibition.
“The moral lesson here is that despite our disagreements and differences of opinion that we may have on a number of issues, we cannot ignore dangers, or what is taking place where being strong or weak makes no difference, that push us all towards joining forces and acting together,” the president said.
A suspected case in the south last week turned to be false alarm after a young man from China, who lives in the Republic of Cyprus and was quarantined upon arriving at Larnaca International Airport, tested negative.
It had taken two days for the results to come back from the Hellenic Pasteur Institute in Athens, Greece, as Greek Cypriot authorities did not conduct tests for the coronavirus on the island. But Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou on Monday said the Republic of Cyprus was expecting equipment this week so that the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics can run tests for the Wuhan bug locally.
In China, where the virus originated, there have been over 20,000 confirmed cases as of Tuesday morning, with the death toll at 425. The prevalence of the virus remained far lower outside mainland China, with two deaths since the outbreak began.