Covid rules announced
Taken from this week's issue
By GÜLDEREN ÖZTANSU
GROUPS of up to 10 people will be allowed to meet for “social gatherings” at home from Monday onwards under new government coronavirus decisions for the period April 26 to May 3. However a ban on indoor and outdoor activities such as birthday and engagement parties and picnics remains in force.
Restaurants, cafes, patisseries and taverns will be allowed to stay open from 10am to 8.30pm from Monday to next Saturday – half an hour later than previously allowed.
In addition such businesses will be allowed to provide delivery services on Sunday, May 2, although all other businesses except for bakeries, chemists and petrol stations will remain closed on Sundays.
A night-time curfew will stay in place between 9pm and 5am, Monday to Saturday, and from 9pm on Saturday to 5am on Monday. Supermarkets and corner shops will be open from 7am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday.
It was also announced that from May 27, wedding, engagement and circumcision services and ceremonies can be held in outdoor areas “within the framework of the rules specified in the letter of undertaking to be prepared, unless a serious change in the direction of [Covid-19] cases is observed”.
The new decisions were announced on Thursday following a Council of Ministers meeting on Wednesday with the participation of President Ersin Tatar.
The Health Ministry also released new figures for the week April 14 to April 20 that showed a two per cent decrease in the number of coronavirus tests conducted, from 56,201 to 55,075.
Despite this, there was a 2.8 per cent increase in the number of new Covid cases, with local cases increasing by as much as 7.3 per cent.
The “test positivity” rate was also up, by 4.8 per cent, and hospital admissions rose by 14.9 per cent.
No changes have been made to the four charter flights a week limit for tourists travelling to the TRNC for “three-night indoor tourism”, who must be electronically tagged and not leave the hotel, despite a 36.8 per cent increase in positive cases from abroad. However, it was stated that TRNC citizens abroad cannot travel to North Cyprus on such charter flights.
Meanwhile the country’s Covid inoculation programme stepped up a gear this week following the arrival of another 40,000 doses of the CoronaVac vaccine, produced by the Chinese firm Sinovac, via air ambulance from Turkey on Tuesday. That raised the total number of vaccines obtained from Turkey to 140,000.
As of yesterday morning, 60,642 people had received their first jab, while 48,848 people had received two jabs, according to Health Ministry figures.
Prime Minister Ersan Saner said the goal is to “vaccinate 60 to 70 per cent of our public in the shortest possible time” and that the TRNC is “one of the best” countries in the world “in the fight against Covid-19”.
Health Minister Ünal Üstel said that 2,000 people had applied for a vaccine appointment online at asibilgisistemi.com after the latest batch arrived and that the vaccination rollout had been extended to over-50s. The jabs are being administered at 19 centres across the TRNC.
Pfizer-BioNTech jabs from the EU are only being given as second doses at the moment he said.
First doses of the UK’s AstraZeneca vaccine are currently only available at Lefkoşa State Hospital, while second doses will continue to be given at the centres where the first doses were provided.
Last Sunday the TRNC’s 29th Covid-19 death was recorded when a 91-year-old woman with high blood pressure and heart failure died.
She had tested positive on March 27 and had been in intensive care since April 13, the Health Ministry said in a statement.