The Turkish Cypriot press is reacting to the government’s policy of permitting visitors from Turkey to arrive in North Cyprus without a mandatory quarantine period of 14 days. They are however, required to bring with them a negative PCR test for Covid-19 and to take a second test on arrival and remain in self-isolation until a negative test result is given. Visitors are required to give a written undertaking to self-isolate and to remain at the address they have given.
Observers are concerned about the practicality of this system since two visitors from Turkey have broken their agreement not to self isolate.
So far, three passengers from Turkey have tested positive for Covid-19 and are in quarantine at Nicosia State Hospital.
Kıbrıs Gazetesi, in a front page article titled “No control” writes that yesterday a total of 400 air passengers and another 150 ferry passengers arrived from Turkey. All passengers from Turkey, which is in category B, were in possession of a PCR test which had been performed for the last 72 hours, while at the same time upon their arrival, they were given a second PCR test, as provided by a new regulation for entry into the country, which came into force on Wednesday.
According to the newspaper, despite the fact that all the passengers who arrived in North Cyprus yesterday were obliged to stay in quarantine after signing a relevant form until they have the negative results of PCR tests, yesterday one passenger did not comply with the rules and visited a local barber shop. Another was not at the address he had given at the airport. This fact, the newspaper writes, raises questions about how monitoring is carried out and to what extent the relevant regulations are observed.
Commenting on the latest developments, Social Democratic Party (TDP) leader Cemal Ozyigit confirmed that several of those who arrived in the country, instead of being confined to their homes or hotels, roamed here and there. He accused the government of failing to control them, arguing that it should be aware of the problems created by its own decision to allow “entry into the country of passengers without mandatory quarantine“.
Yeni Bakış, in a front page article titled “Government with Coronavirus, Congratulations”, criticizes the government for its decision to allow entry into the country of passengers, mainly from Turkey, ignoring repeated appeals and warnings from experts. The newspaper writes that already on Wednesday, the first day of the implementation of the decision, the first confirmed case was identified and adds that unfortunately it will be the government itself, by its own hand, that will reintroduce Covid-19 into North Cyprus. Until two days ago, there had been no new domestic cases of the virus for 75 days.
Commenting on his personal account on social media about the government’s decision to allow passenger entry into the country without full quarantine, the leader of the Republican Party of Turkey (CTP) Tufan Erhurman called on the government to be serious and to heed the views and warnings of the experts.
While agreeing that the country needed to return to normality, Erhurman said the government must show seriousness and responsibility. He added, however, that so far they had not succeeded. He then urged the Turkish Cypriot people to show seriousness themselves as the government had not done so and to faithfully implement the recommendations of the experts in order to protect both themselves and individuals belonging to vulnerable groups.
Elsewhere, AA News agency reports that Turkey on Wednesday, expressed “disappointment” to the EU over its decision to continue a travel ban on Turkish nationals amid the coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy conveyed Ankara’s concerns over excluding Turkey in the recent list of 15 countries that have been allowed to travel to EU states.
Kıbrıs Gazetesi, Yeni Bakış, AA News Agency