COVID19: Cypriot experts to meet on crossings reopening

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Greek and Turkish Cypriot experts on COVID-19 will exchange information next week about the epidemiological situation on both sides of Cyprus’ divide that will allow crossings to reopen.

Ideas will be discussed during a teleconference of the bicommunal Technical Committee on Health on Monday, 1 June.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci agreed last week for the Committee to exchange views about the gradual lifting of restrictions at crossing points, depending on the epidemiological situation.

A well-informed source told CNA that the aim is to give room and time to the experts to explain the epidemiological situation on both sides and the measures taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

After the exchange of information, there will be an evaluation of the situation and the appropriate recommendations will be made to the political leaders.

“Experts will pose questions to get answers and clarifications from both sides, there will be an exchange of information and views based on scientific data for a clearer picture of the COVID-19 pandemic in Cyprus,” the source said.

The two leaders have asked the Committee to look into the situation so that the experts will make their recommendations based on scientific criteria as to how crossing points will operate to protect public health.

It is understood that crossing points will open based on scientific criteria.

Anastasiades and Akinci agreed on 21 May 21 to open crossing points for motor vehicles on 8 June.

This will be for Turkish Cypriots working or studying in the Republic, or people receiving cancer or have a hospital appointment.

The same applies to enclaved Greek Cypriots or Maronites who reside permanently in the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus.

Entry will also be allowed for Turkish Cypriot school students crossing via bus at Ledra Palace, Nicosia.

The Republic of Cyprus decided on 28 February to suspend the operation of four crossing points (Ledra Street, Astromeritis, Lefka and Dherynia), as a precaution against COVID-19 but several other crossing points remained open.

Turkish Cypriots closed all crossings during the coronavirus outbreak in mid-March. (source CNA)