The developing coronavirus situation on both sides of the Cyprus divide was discussed on Wednesday by the bicommunal technical committee on health, which convened via teleconference with the participation of epidemiologists of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot side.
Greek Cypriot participants appeared to be frustrated over delays by the Turkish Cypriot epidemiologists in handing over an updated epidemiological report on the north.
Greek Cypriot co-chair of the committee Leonidas Phylactou told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) that a detailed report is being drafted and will be sent to the Greek Cypriot side when it will be ready, noting that the Greek Cypriot members of the committee sent over an updated report prior to the teleconference.
Phylactou added that the Greek Cypriot side presented the categories of countries from which Cyprus will be receiving visitors as airports gradually resume operation.
The Turkish Cypriot participants followed suit, noting what procedures will apply for each category of visitors to the north.
Regarding the north’s inclusion of Turkey in its first category of countries from which it will accept visitors, a matter causing increasing frustration on both sides of the island in view of the concerning jump in coronavirus cases in Turkey after it eased restrictions, Phylactou said the Greek Cypriot understood this move as being based on not only epidemiological criteria, but also on the bonds and relations shared between the Turkey and the north, which receives significant aid from the neighbouring country.
The Turkish Cypriot side vowed to monitor the situation closely, Phylactou said.
Members of the government’s health advisory committee that participated in the teleconference will be briefing President Nicos Anastasiades on Friday, he added.
Member of the health advisory committee and professor of microbiology and molecular virology of the University of Nicosia’s Medical School, Petros Karayiannis, who participated in the teleconference, told CNA that it seems that Turkish Cypriots have not yet gathered all their data or do not have the experience to analyse them and this is why they have not presented their epidemiological report yet.
“Since we asked them to do so they should have done it within 15 days,” he noted.
Karayiannis noted that the north is currently not experiencing a problem with coronavirus, but they “want to be ready in case of a new outbreak and they want the airports to be ready to re-operate.”
As regards the inclusion of Turkey in category A of the countries in the occupied areas, he said that Turkish Cypriots seem to be concerned by this as well, but this is not something they could voice publicly.
He also noted that “we asked them to send us the list with the categorization of countries so we can compare it with our own”.
Karayiannis also said that they discussed the re-opening of crossing points, something that will be discussed again, but stressed that ultimately that any decisions on the matter will be taken at the political level.
He also noted that the Turkish Cypriot side seems to be following instructions issued by the WHO and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.