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21 May, 2024
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North in coronavirus crisis: hospitals, prisons in turmoil

Sources say hospitals have inadequate tools to tackle the new health crisis, while prison inmates launch hunger strike demanding their release


On Monday morning, Turkish Cypriot authorities confirmed that the number of coronavirus cases had reached six, including four tourists from Germany who had arrived in the north last week, and two Turkish Cypriots who had recently returned from the UK.

Authorities in the north said they were eagerly searching for passengers of two fights that had arrived from the UK’s Luton Airport on March 3 and 4, as they may have come in contact with the two confirmed cases.

Reassurances were also made that all necessary measures were being taken in the north and all medical centres were adequately equipped to deal with the coronavirus crisis.

Reports suggest otherwise

Turkish Cypriot unions, scientists, and workers in the medical field presented to Kathimerini a very different picture than that of the Turkish Cypriot authorities.

Sources of Kathimerini, which do not wish to be disclosed, said that the Burhan Nalbantoglu public hospital in Nicosia has exhausted its abilities to deal with the new health crisis, as there is a significant lack of basic ‘tools’, such as masks, antiseptics, and other essential items, with which staff can effectively deal with coronavirus cases and protect themselves.

At the same time, the sources warned that the largest public hospital in the north is currently only able to deal with as many as 20 coronavirus cases. Should the number surpass this limit, the north will be forced to request help from abroad or from the Greek Cypriot side.

Upheaval at Central Prisons in the north

Inmates and their relatives have expressed intense concern over the conditions in the Central Prisons in northern Nicosia, due to the lack of basic protection measures in view of the coronavirus epidemic.

The inmates began a hunger strike on Sunday demanding to be released. Relatives of inmates gathered outside the prison gates in violation of the emergency measures in place and set car tyres on fire in protest outside the prisons, with police making 10 arrests.

Cyprus  |  north  |  coronavirus  |  crisis  |  hospital  |  prisons  |  hunger strike

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