The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) confirmed on Saturday the first death in the country due to the novel coronavirus.
A 67-year-old German male patient succumbed to the virus at the Dr. Burhan Nalbantoğlu Hospital in Nicosia (Lefkoşa), the Health Ministry said in a statement.
The patient suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and hypertension.
On March 10, the first coronavirus case in the TRNC was diagnosed in a German female tourist. The hotel was immediately placed under quarantine. A group of German tourists was repatriated on March 24 after their quarantine period was terminated.
The country quickly imposed strict measures and shut its borders on March 14. As of March 23, the partial curfew in the TRNC entered into force. There are a total of 61 cases in the country.
Earlier this month, Ankara had said it sent TL 72 million ($11.16 million) in emergency financial assistance and medical supplies to the TRNC due to the virus outbreak.
The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when a Greek Cypriot coup took place after decades of violence against the island's Turkish community and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power. The TRNC was established in 1983 on the northern one-third of the island, is only recognized by Turkey and faces a longstanding embargo on commerce, transportation and culture. The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the Cyprus dispute, all failing. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries – Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. – came to an end without any progress in 2017 in Switzerland.
After first appearing in Wuhan, China in December, the virus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to at least 177 countries and regions, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
More than 607,900 cases have been reported worldwide, with the death toll exceeding 28,100 and more than 131,800 recoveries.