In a further escalation of measures amid the unfolding coronavirus health crisis, the north moved to bar entry from land, air, and sea, to all third country nationals, including Turkish nationals.
The unfolding coronavirus outbreak in the north of Cyprus, which so far saw 20 people infected, was met with swift and strict measures from the onset.
The latest measure, announced by Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Kudret Ozersay, involves the banning of entry to the north for all apart from Turkish Cypriot locals. The measure was enforced at 2pm on Thursday.
According to Kathimerini Cyprus, the measure was taken in response to the surge of confirmed coronavirus cases in Turkey, which saw cases jump to 191 and two deaths.
While the north had previously allowed entry to Turkish and some other third country nationals, given they presented a residence or work permit, as of early Thursday afternoon only Turkish Cypriots were allowed through the operational Buffer Zone crossings, the Kyrenia and Famagusta ports, and the Ercan airport.
All entering the north through any point of entry are required to remain in isolation for two weeks.
Meanwhile, the Turkish Cypriot administration, faced with a severe economic collapse as a result of the developing health crisis, announced several economic support measures.
Leaders of divided Cyprus share telephone call
In a telephone conversation on Wednesday night, President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, and Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci, highlighted the importance of maintaining cooperation through the Bicommunal Technical Committee on Health.
According to an announcement issued by Akinci, the two leaders discussed the need to act on suggestions made by the Committee, and expressed their determination to jointly tackle the health threat.