Coronavirus patients in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) are being airlifted to Turkey. The first air ambulance took four patients from Ercan Airport to Turkey late Wednesday amid strict hygiene measures. Three more flights brought another eight patients to the capital Ankara. More patients are expected to be airlifted from the TRNC to Turkey for treatment. The TRNC on Wednesday announced the temporary suspension of inbound flights due to a major rise in active coronavirus cases.
TRNC Prime Minister Ersin Tatar said in a written statement that “motherland” Turkey stood with TRNC in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said last month that Turkey would not allow the Turkish Cypriot health system to be overburdened with virus cases and would transfer patients from the island to Turkey in case of a rise in cases. The TRNC has so far officially recorded four deaths and 475 infections but has seen a jump in new cases, registering 144 positive tests in the first eight days of September.
“With the efforts of our government and the support of Turkey, we will overcome challenges. We will prioritize the public health but will not allow (the pandemic) to ruin our economy,” Tatar said.