The Presidential Commissioner’s office decided on Friday to form a small group that will be responsible to advise enclaved Greek Cypriots, living in the Turkish-occupied Karpas peninsula, on self-protection measures against coronavirus. The development comes after several villages in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus were placed under quarantine. A 24-hour hot line will also become available for local Greek Cypriots seeking advice.
Decisions were taken on Friday morning during an extraordinary meeting, under Presidential Commissioner, Photis Photiou. Medicine, delivered to the enclaved through the Red Cross and UNFICYP, the UN peacekeeping mission, will be delivered as planned, food deliveries, however, were halted, due to measures against COVID-19 in the Turkish-occupied areas.
Speaking to CNA, Photiou said that according to the information available, there is no COVID-19 case among the enclaved in the Karpas, however things can change as this is a public health issue.
“Our obligation is to advise and protect our people, even if this is done from a distance, and we will do everything possible to advise them on how to protect themselves,” he said, noting the presence of many elderly among the enclaved.
He also said that he is contact with community leaders and people who will distribute the medicine door to door. Moreover, he noted that they coordinate with a local nurse, in order to form a small group that will advise the enclaved population on basic protective measures.
A 24-hour hot line will be in operation, giving access to information and relevant advice.
The weekly dispatch of medicine, though the Red Cross and UNFICYP, was delivered without any problems, but this was not the case with a batch of food supplies, aiming to meet basic needs of the enclaved population. As Photiou said, the Turkish side informed them through the peacekeeping force that there will be no food delivery, due to extraordinary measures, which are in place the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus and the quarantine enforced in the villages.
The Presidential Commissioner said that if the problem persists next week, they will examine the possibility of giving an extraordinary food allowance. In this case, a proposal will be submitted to the Cabinet for approval, Photiou concluded.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Turkey occupied 36.2% of the sovereign territory of the Republic and forcibly expelled about 180,000 Greek Cypriots from their homes. Another 20,000 Greek Cypriots, who had remained in the occupied areas, were also forced to eventually abandon their homes and seek refuge in the safety of the government-controlled areas. Today, few enclaved Greek Cypriots and Maronites remain in the occupied areas.
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY