Concerns were raised on Wednesday after the first two flights from Turkey arrived in the north when a passenger rushed to get a haircut straight out of the airport instead of self-isolating.
According to Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen, the man, who arrived in the north on board one of the two flights, went to a barbershop downtown Nicosia for a haircut right after leaving the airport. The daily quotes an employee of the barber shop saying they refused to serve the man after realising he had just arrived from abroad. He said the man got angry and offered to show them his negative coronavirus test certificate, but the barber shop staff said that according to what they heard, passengers ought to self-isolate for a few days after arrival.
The daily reported that this incident raised concerns.
Passengers arriving from countries in category A are required to present a negative coronavirus test certificate not older than 72 hours but people arriving from these countries but are travelling via Turkey will be subject to the same rules which apply for arrivals from countries under category B. Passengers from category B countries, have to present a negative coronavirus test and have to take a second test upon arrival. They also need to sign a declaration stating that until the second test results are ready, they will remain at their residence or hotel. The test results of passengers are expected to be ready within four hours.
According to media reports in the north, one flight arrived from Turkey at 2.30 am and the other at 8 am, transferring 380 passengers in total. Eleven of the passengers on board the first flight have been placed in quarantine since they arrived from the US, Brazil, Russia, Iran and the UK, that are not on categories A and B which include countries safer than the rest as regards the coronavirus outlook.
Reports also said that a person who arrived from Germany but who holds a north ‘citizenship’ arrived without a coronavirus test certificate and was also placed in quarantine pending their test results.
Yeni Duzen also reported that a passenger who was on the second plane and who was found to be from one of the risky countries in the C group would be sent back after refusing to be quarantined for 14 days.
The same daily also reported that two ferries with around 180 passengers also arrived at the Kyrenia port from Mersin, Turkey.
Wednesday was the day the north announced would allow the arrival of passengers without placing them in quarantine, apart from arrivals from category C counties which include the US, Brazil, India, UK, Italy, Sweden, Iran, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia amongst others.
‘Prime minister’ Ersin Tatar had said on Monday said that the number of passengers to arrive in the north as of July 1 will be determined according to their testing capacity. He also said that there were Turkish Cypriots among those who will be arriving.
He also said that, initially, there would be only two flights per day and that since there was no information as to what extent the public had gained immunity against the virus, flights would be increased in parallel to an increase in testing.
Tatar reportedly said they had 5,000 testing kits and that this capacity will be increased in the coming days.
He also pointed out that the decision to allow arrivals to start from July 1 was aimed at keeping the economy running. He also said that if higher education students, whose majority comes from Turkey and African countries, cannot return to the north, this would have grave consequences for the economy.
According to the latest announcements, category A list, which concerns the countries deemed safer, includes Austria, Germany, Bulgaria, Bosnia Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, South Korea, Croatia, Switzerland, Iceland, Montenegro, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia and Greece.
Turkish Cypriot authorities have placed Australia, Belgium, United Arab Emirates, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Ireland, Israel, Spain, Japan, Canada, Lebanon, Maldives, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Turkey and Jordan in category B.
Countries which fall in Category C are deemed high-risk destinations and all individuals travelling to the north from these countries will spend 14-days in mandatory quarantine upon arrival. All costs will be covered by the individuals, reports said.