Cyprus: Why did the first direct flight from Turkey to Larnaca in 59 years take off?

Larnaca Airport Cyprus

The first direct flight from Turkey to the non-occupied areas of Cyprus, from an airport in Istanbul to Larnaca, took place, as it became known on Tuesday.

According to Phileleftheros, the special direct flight was carried out for humanitarian reasons as they are not operated from Turkey to the Republic of Cyprus since Ankara characterises it as "the southern part of Cyprus".

The flight concerned an ambulance plane as a player of the Turkish Men's National Handball Team tested positive for COVID-19 after his arrival in Cyprus.

In fact, according to Yeni Düzen, the "authorities" of occupied northern Cyprus, which is recognised by no other country except Turkey, were notified about the flight.

However, the flight was also confirmed by Cypriot government representative, Mario Pelekanos.

In statements given to the Cyprus News Agency (KYPE), Pelekanos stated that Turkish authorities requested permission from Cypriot authorities to transport the athlete on a flight between Istanbul and Larnaca.

Also, Pelekanos clarified that when the athlete was found to be positive for COVID-19, all health protocols were followed.

READ MORE: Cyprus to lift restrictions on vaccinated travelers in March.

Elsewhere on the Mediterranean island, a Cypriot District court rejected a petition by 64 people to claim that government regulations requiring COVID-19 vaccination certificates to enter indoor and outdoor venues as unconstitutional.

In a statement, the court accepted the Attorney-General's argument that a relevant Health Ministry decree aims to protect the island nation’s entire population, which is the “state’s highest duty.”

The court added that it is “not reasonable or possible” to put the lives of the whole population at risk because of a small group of citizens that doesn’t wish to abide by the decree.

The judge who rendered the decision said the petition does not exclusively concern the protection of the petitioners’ rights but also directly affects the rights of all citizens to prevent delays in tracing COVID-19 cases and close contacts.

The judge added that this would result in the “uncontrolled spread” of the virus.

He added that the prevailing conditions mandate the measures which are recommended by international organizations as well as the group of health experts that advises the government.

According to official statistics, nearly 46,500 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Cyprus between Jan. 4 and Jan. 17, bringing the infection rate to 5,235 per 100,000 people.

In occupied northern Cyprus, the COVID-19 infection rate on Monday stood at 1.55%.

READ MORE: The hilarious Cypriot video that likens sex to souvlakia.