Residents of both sides of the island flocked to cross through checkpoints on Monday, after the administration in the north agreed in an emergency meeting late on Sunday to match the Republic’s decision to open checkpoints to Cyprus nationals and legal residents of the island.
According to police figures, by 11am on Monday over 600 people crossed to and from the north through two Nicosia checkpoints at Ledra Palaca and Ayios Dometios. Over 480 of those involved people crossing from the north to the Republic, while more than 120 people residing in the south made their way to the north.
The figure is much higher than that recorded on Sunday, when the Republic said it would fully resume the operation of all checkpoints barring that on Ledra street for Cyprus nationals and legal residents of the Republic, on condition that they present a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours before crossing.
But it emerged on Sunday that people wanting to cross into the north who were not among the specific groups that have been permitted to cross since checkpoints partially reopened on June 9 were blocked, as the administration in the north had yet to convene and update the groups allowed to cross in step with decisions taken by the government of the Republic.
The emergency meeting came late on Sunday, after which Kudret Ozersay, in charge of foreign affairs in the north, said Greek Cypriots and permanent residents in the Republic will be able to cross to the if they have proof they have tested negative for coronavirus.
Initially, the Turkish Cypriot side said they would allow the general public through checkpoints on July 1, the date the airport in the north will begin accepting flights from Turkey.
While certain groups that have been permitted to cross since June 9, including Turkish Cypriots living in the north but working in the south, Greek Cypriots living in the north, are only required to show proof of a negative coronavirus test once, the Republic requires the general public moving in any direction to show proof of a negative coronavirus test every 72 hours.
On Sunday, the north scrapped the requirement of those entering the north to be placed in quarantine.