Letters, Appalling conditions in TRNC quarantine centre

Dear T-VINE,

I arrived in Northern Cyprus on 1 January 2021 and I anticipated that I would be under quarantine conditions for 10 days in the location chosen for me by the relevant TRNC authorities.

I did not expect, however, to be dumped in some smoking den in Nicosia. I cannot breathe, I cannot rest, I cannot sleep, I cannot eat, I cannot exist in this place. Pillows, blankets, curtains, air are permeated with foul stench.

I had to clean the surfaces and the remains of someone’s unfinished tea in the kettle. I incidentally did not have any towels in my luggage and have to be rather inventive to avoid touching well-used towels left in my room.

I will now have to spend good amount of time cleaning and sterilizing every item in my luggage and all my clothes that absorbed the offensive smell of this place.

The TRNC Health Ministry prevents me from being in my clean house in Lefke, where I can isolate myself perfectly well and enjoy fresh air and the cleanliness of my own house.

Instead, it forces me into an anti-sanitary environment that fills my lungs with filth and prevents me from satisfying normal basic human need to sleep in a clean bed. What is the rationale behind this, may I ask?

I have not committed any crimes to be incarcerated in filthy conditions without any access to fresh air or any basics. I do not question the decision of the TRNC government to keep people under quarantine conditions. However, I resent this forceful imposition of undignified living conditions.

Badly done, badly done indeed.

Yours faithfully,

Olga Campbell-Thomson

University Lecturer