NICOSIA – After a scare over two Chinese nationals returning to the island and taken to a hospital to be checked for the coronavirus, residents outside Cyprus’ capital are objecting to plans to set up a quarantine facility there.
The Cyprus Times said Xenakis Xenofondos, leader of the village of Kannavia, which is on the northern slopes of the Troodos mountain range, was unhappy with the news the Health Ministry wanted to put the facility there.
“We are not an unwelcoming people but there should have been a discussion. We do not accept this,” Xenofondos said, complaining residents weren’t informed and only heard about the idea in the news.
Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou recently told a press conference that the government had chosen a designated area in rural Nicosia where cases could be handled if coronavirus lab tests were found to be positive.
Ioannou, who had rejected criticism over the handling of the coronavirus outbreak at airports, said state authorities implemented updated public health protocols from the start of the threat and were ready to deal with it.
The minister added that a potential confirmed case, described by officials as “unlikely,” would mean that others considered “high risk” due to close proximity with the carrier would also need to be quarantined for 14 days.
After hearing the quarantine facility would be set up on the grounds of a campground between Kannavia and Agia Eirini, Xenofondos said he took it up directly with the health ministry.
“The chosen area connects two communities together separated only by a very short distance. A lot of people walk by over there and we are worried,” Xenofondos said.
The Kannavia resident said people were worried that rodents in the area could be infected with the virus and then spread it throughout the area. “The 150 children who use the campground facilities will not set foot here ever again,” Xenofondos argued.
The Health Ministry said the plan was in line with guidelines set by the World Health Organization as well as the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
“This practice is applied in other countries and under no circumstances does it pose a risk to the health of local residents,” the statement said. The government could override any local objections.