Cypriots ponder to relax Corona measures
Both the Greek and Turkish Cypriot governments have started pondering to engage in a fourstaged process of getting out the tight measures they introduced in fighting the Corona (COVID- 19) pandemic.
While the Greek Cypriot side is apparently preparing to announce a staged transition to normalcy process as early as May 4 and complete all four stages the by the end of May, or the latest by the end of the first week of June, in the Turkish Cypriot side normalization process will start as early as tomorrow with permission for the reopening of some maintenance, cleaning, disinfection and such companies and shops. The Turkish Cypriot state has been considering as will a four-stage normalization plan which is slated to be completed by the end of May.
Both two entities on the divided island are apparently planning to move from one stage of the normalization plan to the second with seven day intervals provided nothing extraordinary develops in the meantime. Both two governments were under intense pressure from the tourism industry, the main source of revenue for both of them, which was seriously hit by the pandemic cancellation in reservations, empty hotels and grounded flights.
Could there be a second wave of pandemic? That is a critical question. Apparently both two governments want to believe that the population of the island was subjected to Corona virus much before than March, as it is believed, and at least 60 percent of them developed some sort of immunity. Was there any scientific data to prove that? No. That’s what the two governments want to believe that if the pandemic measures and the lockdown continued few more weeks it might produce very serious existential threats.
What would happen if few chartered planes full of tourists land on the island – which has been not only locked to international traffic but land crossings between the two entities were all closed down as well as part of the measures – and produce a second wave of pandemic?
Already there is talk that northern Cypriot travel agents and hoteliers have completed plans to fly in and host a large Nordic group of tourists within the first half of May. What would happen if any one of those tourists show signs of infection? Would the entire groups of tourists brought in by some greedy hoteliers and tourism agents be hosted with state funding for 14- day quarantine period?
In the Greek Cypriot side the no-fly ban expires on May 17. There is talk that the ban would not be extended but flights from “safe countries” will be allowed only? Coupled with the expected permission for small retail shops be opened in the second week of May, skeptics argue that a second wave of the pandemic might be triggered with such hasty normalization push.
Reopening of schools will apparently wait for the next schoolyear in September, while northern Cyprus might pull back the Oct. 11 presidential election, rescheduled from April 26 because of the pandemic, to an earlier date.
An opposition party has taken the parliamentary decision to postpone the presidential election to the High Court with a demand for its annulment on grounds of unconstitutionality as the constitution clearly states that a presidential term cannot exceed five full years.
Incumbent President Mustafa Akinci’s term has expired on April 26. The New Birth Party has said rather than extending the term of the president parliament speaker should have assumed interim presidency role.