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07 Mar 2020 | 02:00 PM UTC

Cyprus: Police clash with protesters in Nicosia amid COVID-19 checkpoint closure March 7

Greek Cypriot police clash with protesters in Nicosia on March 7 as demonstrators denounce closure of Ledra Street checkpoint in Nicosia over coronavirus disease (COVID-19) concerns; no COVID-19 cases reported in Cyprus as of March 7



Greek Cypriot police clashed with Turkish Cypriot protesters in Nicosia on Saturday, March 7, as demonstrators denounced the closure of the Ledra Street checkpoint in the UN-controlled buffer zone between the Republic of Cyprus and the internationally unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus over coronavirus disease (COVID-19) concerns. Greek Cypriot police reportedly used pepper spray or tear gas on some Turkish Cypriot protesters near the checkpoint, while some of the protesters threw stones at police. Cyprus has reported no confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday.

A heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions are possible near the checkpoint over the coming hours. Further international spread of COVID-19 is expected over the near term.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "very high" at the global level.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


Individuals in Nicosia are advised to monitor developments, avoid all demonstrations, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.

Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.

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