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Coronavirus: Checkpoints open but some report problems (update 3)

Movement through the checkpoints was allowed as of Sunday morning, although in Nicosia it was very slow while at least some of those attempting to go north were not allowed in by Turkish Cypriot policemen because their certification they did not have Covid-19 had not been translated into English.

According to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), by 3pm on Sunday five foreigners has crossed from the north to get flights to leave Cyprus while 39 Turkish Cypriots had passed into the Republic.

In the opposite direction, 29 Turkish Cypriots went to the north and one Bulgarian.

Most of them passed through the Ayios Dhometios crossing.

A CyBC reporter at the Ayios Dometios checkpoint reported that Maronites and Greek Cypriots trying to cross had not been allowed through.

CNA reported that most of those crossing at Ayios Dhometios were those living in the Maronite villages in the Karpasia.

In two cases Turkish Cypriot police did not let them through as the negative Covid test they had with them was in Greek, not English.

Turkish Cypriots came as far as the Greek Cypriot police in order to get insurance for vehicles.

A government decision on Saturday allowed Cypriots and permanent residents to pass through all checkpoints except Ledra Street if they have a negative coronavirus test within the previous 72 hours.

Some groups only have to present the certificate the first time they cross. They are: Turkish Cypriot workers who must have proof of work and a social insurance number; Greek Cypriots who live in Pyrgos and work in Nicosia; Turkish Cypriot students who study in the Republic who will only be allowed through the Ledra Palace checkpoint, Maronites and members of the enclaved who live in the north; Cypriots who are patients at medical facilities in the Republic.

The Turkish Cypriot authorities are only allowing the enclaved and Maronites to cross.

Andreas Paralikis, a peace activist, said paying for the tests and different rules would put off many people, especially those who cross regularly.

“Its killing all traffic,” he said.

Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Duzen reported that mass arrivals are expected on Sunday at the Pergamos checkpoint where testing will be carried out.

The first plane from Turkey was expected to land at Tympou airport in the north on Saturday evening, operated by Turkish Airlines, which is expected to carry out four flights a week.

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