The first group of Turkish Cypriots passed through the Ayios Dometios and Strovilia checkpoints on Tuesday, many carrying bedding, cookware, and other essential items as they won’t be able to return to the north for at least two weeks.
According to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), by Tuesday morning, eight people drove into government-controlled areas through crossing points, involving six workers and two who sought medical treatment in the south.
Checkpoints that allow vehicles through partially resumed operation on Monday, around three months after all nine crossing points were closed down as part of the island’s strategy to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Cyprus’ two leaders had agreed that as a first step, only certain groups will be allowed to cross, including Turkish Cypriots working in the Republic, Turkish Cypriot students attending schools in the Republic, and enclaved or Greek Cypriots and Maronites who reside in the north or in Pyrgos Tyllirias.
The government of the Republic announced late last week that upon crossing for the first time, people will need to present proof of a negative coronavirus test that should have been conducted 72 hours prior to crossing.
Citing Turkish Cypriot media, CNA reported that many crossed with their vehicles loaded with pillows, cookware, and other personal care items, as upon being tested for the virus in the north, they were made to sign a document that stated that if they return to the north they will be placed in quarantine for 14 days.
As a result many plan to sleep in their cars, while others will sleep in accommodation arranged by their employers.
Tests for some 30 Turkish Cypriots seeking to cross through to the Republic were arranged by the ‘government’ in the north, Kudret Ozersay said Monday.
Spokesman for the government of the Republic of Cyprus Kyriakos Koushos said Tuesday that President Nicos Anastasiades will be closely following developments at checkpoints before taking any final decisions on the full resumption of their operation.