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Coronavirus: European pass system for Turkish Cypriots extended until mid September

Covid vaccines being handed over at Ayios Dhometios checkpoint in Nicosia (CNA)

The temporary arrangement for Turkish Cypriots to be able to get an EU Digital Covid Certificate will be extended until September 16 the deputy ministry of innovation announced on Monday.

Speaking to the Cyprus Mail on Monday morning, the deputy minister of innovation Kyriacos Kokkinos said the current online application process, valid until August 31, will be extended until September 16 for those planning to travel.

The deputy minister said there are no concrete plans as to how the process will be amended in the future but various scenarios are being examined and “it is the decision of the cabinet”.

As of last week, more than 650 Turkish Cypriots had applied for an EUDCC document through the portal, Kokkinou said.

The arrangement aimed to facilitate Turkish Cypriots whose vaccination certificates issued by the north are not widely accepted. As a result, many students studying in the UK had to quarantine upon arrival.

However, authorities in the north refused to provide the state with the personal information of the Turkish Cypriots who plan to travel, thus there was no way to confirm their vaccination status.

“There is no way to verify the vaccination certificates hence we needed a visual confirmation,” Kokkinos said, explaining why a copy of the boarding pass is required before the issuance of the certificate.

The requirement provoked reactions in the north with people branding the measure ‘discriminatory’ and ‘impractical’, as all vaccinated Turkish Cypriots were expecting to be able to get a pass.

Others also complained that their application was declined without the platform providing an explanation.

The electronic form provides a choice to select from EU-approved vaccines (AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer and Janssen) but also Sputnik and Sinovac.

The EU Digital Covid Certificate Regulation, which came into force on July 1, facilitates free movement inside the EU during the pandemic. It is digital proof that a person has been vaccinated against the coronavirus or has tested negative to Covid-19 or has recovered from the virus.

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