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Coronavirus: Turkish Cypriots change crossing point entry requirements, yet again (Updated)

Ayios Dhometios crossing point

The new arrangements announced by the Turkish Cypriot side have also solved the problem faced by Kato Pyrgos and Tylliria residents who need to daily cross through the Limnitis crossing point to get to their workplaces in Nicosia, it was announced on Thursday.

Kato Pyrgos community leader Nicos Cleanthous told media that he was officially informed by President Nicos Anastasiades that the new arrangements over crossings between the two sides, under which those crossings will only be required to carry out a one-off coronavirus test as long as they have not travelled abroad during the past 14 days also includes them and resolves their problem.

Residents have been up in arms since last Monday when the Turkish Cypriot side changed the conditions for crossing, asking for a coronavirus test certificate every 15 days for the special groups announced by the two leaders, those who need to cross between the two sides daily for work, study and health reasons.

The latest in a series of bewilderingly conflicting announcements came on Wednesday evening from the committee of experts in the north which is now tasked with making decisions as regards crossings and arrivals from abroad.

According to the updated measures, to be in effect until July 21, individuals crossing between the two sides will be required to carry out a one-off coronavirus test (PCR) on the condition they have not left the island in the last 14 days. Random tests will be carried out at crossings.

The same statement said that people who cross to the government-controlled areas to work, study or for treatment still need to present a negative coronavirus test certificate every 15 days. This will also apply on the condition that they have not left the island for 14 continuous days.

In both cases, if individuals have travelled abroad, they will be subject to conditions that apply for the category in which the country they travelled to and from is listed.

Turkish Cypriot residents of Pyla will be able to cross to the north on the condition they present a test certificate the first time they cross.

People wishing to cross to the north, however, need to bear in mind that the government-controlled areas still require a negative coronavirus test not older than three days from people who arrive from the north or those who cross to the north and return to the south. The government currently only allows crossings for Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and people residing permanently in the Republic.

Only people in special groups – Turkish Cypriots working, studying in the south and who cross to the south for medical reasons, Maronites and Greek Cypriots living permanently in the north and Kato Pyrgos residents who work in Nicosia – are allowed to cross just by furnishing a test certificate just once.

The committee of experts in the north also announced that people traveling from the north to Turkey for up to a five-day stay, (including the 5th) on their return will take two tests, one upon arrival and one between the fifth and seventh day since their arrival.

All diplomatic, UN, EU, British Bases staff as well as members of international organisations will only be required to present a negative test the first time they cross to the north. However, Turkish Cypriots working in the UN buffer zone and local UN or SBA staff will be required to re-test for Covid-19 every 15 days.


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