A new lockdown not on the government’s agenda, says PM Saner

Eklenme Tarihi: 08 Nisan 2021

Prime Minister Ersan Saner on Wednesday said that a new lockdown was currently not on the government’s agenda.

Speaking on a programme on BRT during which he evaluated the latest developments; Saner said that the TRNC was coping much better with COVID-19 when compared to other countries.

“It is true we are seeing a rise in cases but the TRNC is faring much better compared to other countries. I can say for sure that North Cyprus is in a good place at the moment,” he said.

Prime Minister Saner said that the government will be producing new decisions at the end of the week after examining the recommendations of the Higher Committee for Infectious Diseases.

He added that the government did not favour lockdowns but warned that the public must adhere to the measures in place so as to prevent this from happening.

Regarding the government’s decision to freeze the cost-of-living increment for four months, Saner said that the 10.65 per cent cost-of-living increment increase due from last year will be reflected onto April salaries of public servants.

He added that the government for its part had reduced its spending by 10 per cent as part of austerity measures.

Responding to a question on the crossing points, Prime Minister Saner said that despite the fact that the crossing points have remained closed for a long time, the daily number of COVID-19 cases in the south, currently around the 500 mark, was not going down.

“There is a tendency around the world to allow vaccinated people to travel. But of course any decision to be produced on this issue will be based on the recommendations to be provided by the Higher Committee for Infectious Diseases,” he said.

On the issue of vaccines, Saner said that South Cyprus has received 173,000 doses so far while the TRNC has received 119,000 vaccines.

He added that they were expecting another 40,000 doses to be delivered in the coming days.

Asked to comment on the government’s plans to switch to a home-quarantine system, Saner said that being able to monitor and inspect those who will be asked to isolate and quarantine at home was important.

He reminded that the government had amended the Law on Infectious Diseases introducing stricter penalties for violators. Saner also said that a protocol was signed earlier this week with a private company for electronic monitoring wristbands.

“There will be different wristbands for those staying at home and those staying at hotels. But we shall be monitoring everyone who needs to isolate or be in quarantine. These will be citizens who have come into contact with previously identified positive cases or tourists on holiday as part of the closed-circuit system. Those who have tested positive will not be included in the home-quarantine system,” he stressed.

Responding to a question as to whether or not closed-circuit tourism will commence on April 12 as announced earlier, Saner said that it could be possible to postpone this date due to rising case numbers but currently the plan was to start on the announced date.

The prime minister also explained that 10,500 university students had returned to the island to resume their education face-to-face.

Regarding primary and secondary schools, Saner said that in-class education could resume after teachers above the age of 50 are vaccinated.

He added that work on enabling final-year students to sit international university entrance examinations was also continuing.

Answering a question on the Cyprus Problem, Saner said that he did not expect any positive outcome from the upcoming informal five-plus-one meeting as the international community did not share the views of the Turkish Cypriot side in favour of a two-state solution.

“An outcome is unlikely as one side favours a two-state solution while the other favours a federal settlement,” he said.