Cyprus Village Doesn’t Want to Host Coronavirus Quarantine Site

A man carries boxes as sign attached to the gate of the Nicosia General Hospital reads in Greek: "Ban Entry - Temporary Safety Measures" in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Residents of the village of Kannavia, on the northern slopes of the Troodos Mountains on Cyprus, are protesting government plans to locate a quarantine facility there to keep in place people for 14 days to see if they contract the COVID-19 Coronavirus.

There are 100 cases, including 33 on the northern third occupied by Turkish-Cypriots since an unlawful 1974 invasion by Turkey, which also keeps a 35,000-strong army there. Of those cases, 30 are German tourists.

The so-called Green Line dividing the two sides through the capital Nicosia has had many of its crossing points closed down as part of measures to corral spread of COVID-19 although residents on both sides had protested that.

The Cyprus Times reported that the villagers don’t want the quarantine facility at the spot picked out by the Health Ministry with a local leader, Xenakis Xenofondos, said the villagers weren’t informed and heard the news on the media.

We are not an unwelcoming people but there should have been a discussion. We do not accept this,” Xenofondos said.

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 with the virus that began in China, but as that government said it has begun to abate.

Ioannou, who had rejected criticism over the handling of the coronavirus outbreak at airports, said state authorities had implemented updated public health protocols from the very beginning ahead of the threat of a potential coronavirus infection on the island.

He said 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, reported Kathimerini Cyprus.

After hearing the quarantine facility would be set up on the grounds of a campground between Kannavia and Agia Eirini, Xenofondos said he contacted the Health Ministry to try to get more information on the decision.

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.

Kannavia residents also were said to be fearful 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 said, adding that the residents are trying to decide what to do, including taking drastic measures that weren’t clarified.

 The designated area is near holiday homes while the facility will be based inside a children’s summer camp that typically starts operation in June. The government could overcome any objections and put the facility there.

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