DUBAI: United Arab Emirates recorded 1,096 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths on Sunday
The Department of Health and Prevention said the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic has reached 106,229, while the death toll has risen to 445
The ministry also said that 1,311 recovered cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 97,284
Meanwhile, the Dubai Health Authority met with police and education chiefs to discuss the impact of the pandemic and the level of intervention taken by the authority to stem its spread.
Dubai economy fined six companies and warned store for non-compliance with COVID-19 measures
Sharjah police say they imposed 5,432 fines in September on those violating restrictions
« The most common violations were not wearing masks and not respecting social distancing in closed public places such as shopping malls or on public transport, » the police statement said.
Elsewhere, Kuwait recorded 548 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 111116 Death toll reached 658 after three new deaths were recorded
Oman’s health ministry said the total number of cases reached 105,890 and the death toll stood at 1,038
NICOSIA: Voters in northern Cyprus held by Turkey, a separatist state recognized only by Ankara, voted on Sunday for a new leader amid accusations of interference by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
The presidential vote in the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus took place amid heightened tensions on the divided island and in the wider eastern Mediterranean
The election to the TRNC pits the incumbent and frontrunner, Mustafa Akinci, who supports the possible reunification of Cyprus as an EU member, against the nationalist Ersin Tatar, supported by Erdogan
« This election is crucial to our fate, » Akinci said after voting, comparing the effect of alleged Turkish political interference to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on public health
The vote comes three days after Turkish troops angered the EU-member Republic of Cyprus and many Turkish Cypriots by reopening public access to the fenced seaside ghost town of Varosha for the first time since invasion of the north by Turkish forces in 1974
The move sparked protests in the predominantly Greek Republic of Cyprus, which exercises authority over the southern two-thirds of the island, separated from the north by a buffer zone patrolled by the UN.
Nearly 200,000 of the estimated 300,000 residents are registered to vote in the TRNC, which was created after Turkey’s occupation of the north of the island in response to a coup to annex Cyprus to Greece
One voter, Esat Tulek, 73 and a retired civil servant, said the election was important because « we are actually choosing the president who will negotiate with the Greek Cypriots on the future of Cyprus. »
The election comes against a backdrop of tensions in the eastern Mediterranean over the planned exploitation of hydrocarbons between Turkey on the one hand, and Greece and its close ally Cyprus on the other
Erdogan announced on Tuesday, along with Tatar, the partial reopening of Varosha, a resort town that once attracted Hollywood stars before being abandoned by its Greek Cypriot residents during the Turkish invasion
The decision to allow visitors to return to the abandoned and overgrown area was condemned by Akinci and other candidates, who saw it as Turkish interference in the elections.
It has also come under heavy criticism from the Republic of Cyprus, the European Union and the United Nations, whose peacekeepers monitor the 180 kilometer (112 mile) buffer zone across the island.
Kemal Baykalli, founder of the non-governmental group Unite Cyprus Now, told AFP that “the main question of this election is how we will define our relations with Turkey »
Eleven candidates are in the running, and the favorite is Akinci, 72, a social democrat who favors loosening ties with Ankara, which has earned him hostility from Erdogan
« There are two situations which are not normal » Akinci said after the vote « One concerns our health, there is a pandemic
« And the second is our political health, community health, and I’m talking here about the intervention of Turkey », which he accused of using its facilities in TRNC « as an electoral office »
Reunification negotiations stalled during Akinci’s tenure, including over withdrawal of tens of thousands of Turkish troops stationed at TRNC
Turkey backs the 60-year-old Tatar nationalist, currently « Prime Minister » of northern separation, who on Sunday insisted to reporters that « the TRNC and its people form a state »
« We deserve to live on the basis of equal sovereignty, » Tatar said to applause from supporters
Yektan Turkyilmaz, researcher at the Berlin-based Forum Transregionale Studien, said many Turkish Cypriots felt « hurt in their honor and identity » by what they saw as interference from Ankara
Another voter, Aysin Demirag, a 59-year-old yoga teacher, said the reopening of Varosha, « under pressure from Turkey, organized as a spectacle days before the election, was really a bad decision. »
The election is taking place against the backdrop of an economic crisis, exacerbated by the pandemic, which has largely shut down the tourism sector and led to the closure of Ercan airport north of Nicosia and crossing points south of the ‘Isle
Voting at 738 polling stations, organized with precautions against the spread of COVID-19, was due to close at 6:00 p.m. (1500 GMT), with the result to be released in the evening
If no candidate wins at least 50% of the vote, the two main candidates will face each other in the second round on October 18
Turkish Cypriots, Greek Cypriots, Northern Cyprus, Turkey, Varosha, Famagusta, Mustafa Akıncı
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