The north was hurled into turmoil on Tuesday after confirming its first coronavirus case, with authorities in the north moving to place hotels in lockdown, health services placing tens of persons in isolation, and the ‘government’ shutting primary and secondary schools until March 16, with universities in the north being the next possible target of intervention.
The first confirmed case was announced by Turkish Cypriot ‘Health Minister’ Ali Pilli. A 65-year-old German national, who visited the island with a group of 30 tourists from Balingen, tested positive for the novel coronavirus. After landing at Ercan airport in north Nicosia on Sunday evening, the group took a tour bus to Famagusta where they checked in at a local hotel on the eastern coast.
With the 65-year-old woman placed in immediate quarantine at the Burhan Nalbantoglu public hospital, authorities in the north swiftly moved to place three hotels in lockdown.
Passengers who shared the woman’s flight from Germany, which landed in the north via Turkey, will also be placed in isolation, local media reported.
Ambulances carrying persons who will be placed under quarantine continued to arrive at the north Nicosia hospital by Tuesday afternoon.
On Tuesday, the Turkish Cypriot leader asked the population in the north to avoid crowded areas.
The ‘mayor’ of Trikomo (Yeni İskele), Hasan Sadıkoğlu, said a widespread sense of panic has flooded the area, with police in the north blocking entrances to hotels in lockdown, only allowing entry to flocks of doctors and nurses.
The landing of coronavirus in the north has also led to the suspension of all primary and secondary schools until March 15.
A heated discussion also emerged over additional emergency measures, including the possibility of postponing the ‘presidential elections’ scheduled to take place in the north in April.