COVID19: Cyprus crossings open on Sunday

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The government decided to open all crossings to the Turkish occupied north on Sunday, apart from Ledra Street in Nicosia, for Cypriot citizens and residents.

According to the cabinet decision taken on Friday, Greek and Turkish Cypriots and permanent residents wanting to cross the divide will have to present a coronavirus negative test taken within 72 of the crossing.

The decision was taken following a meeting between President Nicos Anastasiades and his scientific advisory team with the participation of Greek Cypriot co-chair of the bicommunal technical committee on health, Leonidas Phylactou.

Acting government Spokesperson Panayiotis Sentonas said health professionals will also be carrying out random checks.

The strict measures were a result of the Turkish Cypriot decision to open its airport to flights from Turkey, which the EU has categorized as a high-risk COVID-19 country.

Turkish Cypriots have placed Turkey in the low-risk category.

Sentonas said the decision could change depending on the epidemiological data.

He said the health advisory committee was unanimous in its position that the epidemiological data submitted verbally and not in writing by the Turkish Cypriots were not sufficient to paint a clear picture of the coronavirus situation in the north.

Turkish Cypriot authorities have reported no new COVID-19 infections since 17 April, their total remains at 108 cases and four deaths.

Sentonas, however, stated that there are “serious doubts over the way and ability to deal with the situation in the areas where the Republic does not exercise effective control.”

Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has been informed of the decision, said Sentonas.

Daily YeniDuzen said Turkish Cypriot authorities will allow Greek Cypriots into the north on the condition that they present a negative COVID-19 test on their first entry taken within 72 hours.

Sunday is expected to see checkpoints reopen after being closed for over three months.