Authorities in the north have eased crossing restrictions for certain categories of Turkish Cypriots, no longer imposing mandatory quarantine for those returning.
Reports said Turkish Cypriots working, receiving medical treatment, or studying in the government-controlled areas, as well as those living in the mixed village of Pyla, Larnaca, can cross to the north starting Saturday, provided they displayed a negative test for Covid-19 obtained in the past 72 hours.
The same applies for Maronites and Greek Cypriots living in Karpasia.
It also includes Turkish Cypriots who had been stranded in the Republic, as long as they have not travelled abroad in the past 14 days.
Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen published photos on Saturday of people walking north through the Ayios Dhometios crossing. Many had arrived in Cyprus through Larnaca and Paphos airports and stayed in the government-controlled areas.
Turkish Cypriot workers who crossed south and were not allowed to return last week did so on Friday night and Saturday morning without being placed in quarantine.
On Friday, the government decided to open crossings to the north on Sunday apart from the one at Ledras Street, with users having to present the results of a test certifying they don’t have coronavirus.
The crossings will be open for Greek and Turkish Cypriots and permanent residents who display a clean bill of health obtained within 72 hours before crossing.
Health professionals will also be carrying out random checks.
Deputy government spokesman Panayiotis Sentonas said the decision could change depending on the epidemiological data. The strict measures were due to decisions the Turkish Cypriots took, placing Turkey in category A while the EU classifies it as a high-risk country.
Countries in the north’s category A, which includes Turkey, will have to present a negative coronavirus test carried out 72 hours before arrival.
Anastasiades and Akıncı had decided on a gradual relaxation of measures back in May, which began on June 8 allowing Turkish Cypriot workers, patients, and students to cross by car, along with Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the north. But the gesture was meaningless to most people as the continued restrictions by the north did not permit any effective movement.