LEFKOSA 

The Turkish Cypriot health minister said Monday that at least 16 people have contracted the UK variant of the coronavirus in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).  

“In 16 of the 20 samples sent to the COVID-19 virus mutation analysis conducted by the Health Ministry in the Republic of Turkey, the UK variant COVID-19 virus was identified,” Ali Pilli said-in a statement.

It is extremely important that the public pay maximum attention to the rules of mask-wearing, social distancing and hygiene, Pilli said while stressing the fact that the variant is much more infectious.

The COVID-19 caseload in the TRNC is now more than 2,500, including at least 14 fatalities and more than 1,900 recoveries, according to the health ministry.

The pandemic has claimed more than 2.3 million lives in 192 countries and regions since December 2019.

More than 105.9 million cases have been reported worldwide, with recoveries exceeding 58.1 million, according to figures compiled by US-based Johns Hopkins University.

The US, India and Brazil remain the worst-hit countries in terms of cases.  

*Writing by Merve Berker

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