The coronavirus pandemic is continuing to affect the north against the backdrop of broad political and economic insecurity, with the recent manoeuvres of the Ersan Saner ‘government’ raising questions as to the ability of the Turkish Cypriot leadership to effectively address the pandemic.
According to Yenidüzen, the first batch of 1,080 Pfizer vaccines arrived in the north on Monday morning. Receiving the delivered batch from the government-controlled areas, representatives of the Turkish Cypriot community said that the second batch is expected to arrive in the north next month.
The Turkish Cypriot community has requested a total of 400,000 doses from the EU. The vaccination plan for the island’s north section will see people aged over 65 and health workers get the jab first.
Late on Saturday night, the ‘supreme committee on infectious diseases’ announced that a lockdown would be imposed on the Turkish Cypriot community as a result of the increasing number of new coronavirus cases being detected. The ‘health minister’ Ali Pilli was reportedly in favour of such a move.
However, the ‘government’ then stepped in and cancelled the committee’s decision, despite the position of the north’s chief justice who said that the ‘supreme committee’ was the highest decision-making body on matters of health.
Even so, the decision for a lockdown was overturned by the ‘government’, which said it took into account the economic concerns and complaints tabled by the private sector. It said the course of the pandemic will be monitored for another week before any new decisions are taken.
In addition to the vaccines received through the government-controlled areas, the north is also issuing doses of the China-developed vaccine it is receiving from Turkey.
The first vaccinations in the north were issued in a chaotic, non-planned way, giving rise to questions regarding the priority given to certain people. The intense public outcry led the ‘government’ to create a special website detailing the vaccination plan and who gets the vaccine first.