President Tatar offers to treat Greek Cypriot patients in TRNC to ease pressure on South Cyprus hospitals

Ersin Tatar, the newly elected President of the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus, has extended a helping hand to the Greek Cypriot authorities by offering to treat 100 patients in TRNC hospitals.

The offer comes amid a surge in Covid-19 cases across the Green Line, which threatens to overwhelm Greek Cypriot hospitals in the next fortnight.

Since March there have been 7,051 cases of coronavirus in South Cyprus and 39 deaths. However, 70% of these cases are current, arising after a sharp increase in infections in recent weeks; 198 new cases were recorded in the past 24 hours alone.

A total of 4,991 people are currently infected with coronavirus. Of these, 47 patients are receiving treatment at Famagusta Hospital, including five in intensive care, while 17 Covid patients have been admitted Nicosia general hospital, with eight of them in intensive care, according to a Cyprus Mail report.

The proposal from President Tatar for the TRNC to care for up to 100 patients and help ease the pressure on the South Cyprus health system was made via Dr. Cenk Soydan, who co-chairs the Bi-Communal Health Committee.

Dr Soydan submitted the proposal, which was developed in conjunction with the TRNC Health Ministry, to his Greek Cypriot counterpart. The same details were also presented to the United Nations.

The Turkish Cypriot doctor told local newspaper Haber Kıbrıs that they had approached the issue on “purely humanitarian” grounds and that the Covid crisis had created a unique opportunity for both sides to co-operate.

“Our President Ersin Tatar said he attached importance to this proposal in terms of establishing an atmosphere of cooperation and trust between the two communities. We did our research and presented the relevant proposal in writing,” said Dr Soydan.

“We view the issue on purely humanitarian grounds with the focus on improving cooperation between the two communities,” he added.

TRNC Health Minister Ali Pilli (2nd right) shows Turkey’s Vice-President Fuat Oktay a room in the new pandenmic hospital, 24 Oct. 2020 

The TRNC has just built a new pandemic hospital alongside its main hospital in the capital Lefkoşa.

Constructed with the financial aid and expertise of Turkey, the new 100-room, 200-bed capacity hospital is expected to be officially opened on 15 November – TRNC Republic Day.

North Cyprus was the first country in the world to bring its coronavirus infections to zero in the first wave through a raft of strict lockdown restrictions.

The second wave took hold at the end of August and quickly threatened to spiral out of control. With limited facilities, the TRNC health system struggled to cope with the rapid rise in infections, prompting Turkey to fly home its Covid-infected nationals for treatment.

The TRNC government quickly enforced mandatory quarantine on virtually all new arrivals in North Cyprus and also reduced the number of people able to enter the TRNC each day. The tough measures have seen the number of new coronavirus cases plummet.

Just four new cases were recorded in the past 24 hours. There are seven hospitalised patients, with 39 others self-isolating in quarantine centres. There has been a total of 5 Covid deaths in the TRNC since March.