We have received news and information about COVID – 19 Testing from Ralph Kratzer of The Foreign Residents in the TRNC (TFR) and we are sharing this for other readers who may be seeking the latest information.
Dear members of TFR!
As COVID-19 cases are increasing amongst expats, especially in the west of Girne area, and a few TFR members – including our dearest Secretary Caroline – have been tested positive in the last few days, I want to give you the following information:
I have been accused by a member of putting out false or misleading information in my last newsletter. If it was felt in that way I sincerely apologise. I get a lot of information every day and some of it is ambiguous or contradicting.. I truly didn´t find any guideline on the website of the Ministry of Health.. a lot of expats are now confused about the right thing to do in these troubling times especially in cases where they worry about having been in contact with an infected person recently…
Anyway, I consulted our Secretary Caroline, who I trust to get the most reliable information from the government, and her colleague and TFR member Melissa Emen went to the Ministry of Health today (5th January) to get some clarification about open questions like… when shall I get tested?… how often shall I get tested?… will the authorities contact me?… where shall I go?… etc. etc.
The answer I got from them is as follows:
Guidance on COVID – 19
TRNC Guidelines on where and how to get help in case of display symptoms of COVID -19. In the case of fever, shortness of breath, weakness, joint pains, or a new loss of taste or smell. Individuals must apply to the outpatient fever clinic in their region where they will be given a free PCR test and medical examination.
The clinics are:
- Lefkoşa – Dr Burhan Nalbantoǧlu State Hospital
- Gazimaǧusa – Gazimaǧusa State Hospital
- Girne – Dr Akçiçek Hospital
- Güzelyürt – Health Centre
- Lefke – Cengiz Topel Hospital
All clinics are open from 8am to 9pm 7 days per week.
As soon as you become aware that you have been in contact with a positive case you should self-isolate and immediately call the Coronavirus Hotline on 1102 and follow their instructions
TRNC Guidelines on Contact Tracing
Contact tracing is the process of identifying, assessing, and managing people who have been exposed to a disease to prevent onward transmission. Contact tracing for COVID-19 requires identifying people who may have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to stop transmission of the virus by reducing the number of people who are circulating with the virus.
- Contacts: A contact is defined as anyone who had direct contact or was within 1 metre for at least 15 minutes with a person infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, even if the person with the confirmed infection did not have symptoms. Contacts are people who were in contact from 2 days before to 14 days after the person started to show symptoms.
- Identifying contacts: this is done in the TRNC by a nurse who interviews the person infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 to find out who they have been in contact with.
- Informing contacts: each contact should be contacted by phone to determine if they are indeed a contact, by confirming the interaction between the contact and the infected person. Each person confirmed as a contact should be informed about the goal of contact tracing,
- Monitoring Contacts: In the TRNC if a person is confirmed as a contact they will be required to undertake 14 days quarantine at a government facility where they will be monitored to see whether the person develops symptoms. During the period of stay within the quarantine facility they will be PCR tested. The tests will take place following arrival at the quarantine facility, then at 7 days through the stay and at 14 days through the stay. Only if the contact’s PCR tests remain negative throughout their stay will they be allowed to leave the quarantine facility.
- Contacts which develop Symptoms: If a contact becomes symptomatic during their stay within the quarantine facility they will be transported by ambulance from the quarantine facility to the hospital where their symptoms will be further investigated and a decision will be made as to whether the person is sent to a Covid Pandemic Hotel/Facility or whether if their symptoms are severe they will be transferred to hospital.”