New coronavirus rules will come into force on Tuesday 8 December for those arriving in the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC).
Among the new entry rules announced by the TRNC Health Ministry are:
- 〉Three risk categories for countries abolished, all now in a single group that has mandatory 7-day quarantine for travellers regardless of where they travel from;
- 〉Quarantine-free 72-hour visits to end from Tuesday. Those planning to be in North Cyprus for three days or less must do 7-day quarantine first;
- 〉TRNC citizens must also pay for their quarantine costs;
- 〉Everyone travelling to the TRNC must have a negative PCR test taken between 0-72 hours before travel, and the test results must in English or Turkish;
- 〉NHS PCR test results are valid for those entering the TRNC, and
- 〉The cost of 7-day quarantine costs and a final PCR test has been set at 2,255 TL, or £214, per person, which must be paid ahead of travelling to the TRNC.
The latest coronavirus measures come into force from 00:01 on Tuesday 8 December 2020, and run through to 23:59 on Wednesday 23 December 2020, when the TRNC Health Ministry will confirm whether the rules will continue or be modified. However, notices on Turkish Airlines’ website about travel to North Cyprus state the quarantine requirements will continue until 31 December.
The changes were made in a series of announcements by the TRNC Health Ministry, on 4 and 5 December, based on advice from the Contagious Diseases Executive Committee following a spike in Covid-19 infection rates in North Cyprus and abroad.
New cases of coronavirus have generally been pegged at five or six daily in North Cyprus for the past few months. However on Tuesday 1 December, 21 people tested positive for Covid-19, while on Saturday the figure was 14. Most of the new cases are those arriving from abroad.
Staff in hotels frequented by tourists on quarantine-free short visits are also increasingly testing positive. On Thursday, local media reported that seven staff at the luxury Elexus Hotel in Girne and one member of staff at the Merit Hotel Lefkosa had been diagnosed with coronavirus.
The new coronavirus restrictions for North Cyprus has led to some simplifications. Instead of countries ranked in of three risk categories (A, B and C), they are all now combined into one category.
Passengers arriving in the TRNC between 8 December 2020 and 23 December 2020 are subject to a 7-day quarantine in a government-approved centre regardless of the length of their stay.
TRNC officials who travelled abroad for work and TRNC citizens who needed medical treatment abroad can apply to the Ministry of Health for an exemption from quarantine, with each case decided on its merits.
At the end of the quarantine period, each person will undergo a further PCR test, the cost of which is included in their pre-paid quarantine fee.
All travellers must pay for their quarantine with no exemptions. It means TRNC citizens must bear their own quarantine costs if arriving in North Cyprus between 8 December and 23 December.
Those arriving from abroad are required to have taken a PCR test with a negative result no more than 3 days old prior to their travel. This includes countries such as the UK, where travellers previously could take a test up to 5 days before travelling.
Children aged up to and including 5 years old are exempt from PCR tests.
All documents bearing PCR test results should be in Turkish or English – no other language will be permitted.
Printouts of the PCR test results that are not submitted to TRNC health authorities on arrival or those not obtained within 3 days before the date of travel will be deemed invalid and entry into the country will be denied.
Extra rules for those travelling to the TRNC from Turkey (excludes transit passengers)
Travel agents have additional responsibilities for those travelling from Turkey. Before issuing passengers with tickets for flight or ferry travel, they must first check the person’s HES code (Turkey’s track and trace app, which also serves as a permit for individuals to move from city to city, or to use public transport).
If the HES code shows the person is Covid-19 positive or has recently come into contact with a person with coronavirus, then a travel ticket cannot be issued. Should an infected person enter North Cyprus from Turkey and the HES code indicated they were positive or high risk, the travel agent will be prosecuted for breaking the TRNC’s Criminal Code and its Communicable Diseases Law.
In addition, people taking PCR tests in Turkey must ensure their results have a QR code. Any tests from Turkey without a QR code will be deemed invalid and the person not be permitted to enter the TRNC.
The requirement for QR-coded PCR test results affects all passengers departing from Turkey. However, transit passengers (including Turkish citizens) are exempt from this rule.
To prevent any problems, airline and shipping companies will check the QR codes prior to passengers boarding. If the QR code cannot be scanned, the laboratory number on the document and the last four digits of the identification number / passport number will be used on the e-Nabiz system to check the validity of the COVID-19 result.
Passengers should ensure they have printouts of their PCR test results and present their document to health officials on arrival at Ercan Airport or another TRNC border check point.
The TRNC Health Ministry has ended confusion about the validity of NHS tests from Britain, confirming NHS PCR tests are valid and will be accepted by TRNC border officials. A printout of the results is preferred, but an SMS from the NHS will also suffice.
The Ministry said all Covid-19 tests conducted by British universities attended by TRNC students are also valid. This rule only applies to UK universities.
New Year celebrations in the TRNC
Restrictions have come into force on how many people can gather for New Year parties in North Cyprus, with the size of the venue determining numbers.
- Areas 300 m2or larger can have up to 100 people attend
- Areas between 100 m2and 300 m2can have up to 50 people present
- Areas between 50 m2and 100 m2can have a maximum of 30 people
People wishing to enter North Cyprus must pre-pay their quarantine costs to any one of the TRNC Ministry of Finance bank accounts shown below.
Payments can be made in Turkish Lira, Pounds Sterling, Euros or US dollars, with a different bank account for each currency. The amount for 7-day quarantine and a PCR test at the end of quarantine has been set at ₺2,255, which is equal to £214, or $289, or €238.
Account Name: KKTC Maliye Bakanlığı [TRNC Ministry of Finance]
Account Holder Address: KKTC Maliye Bakanlığı, Lefkoşa, KKTC
Name of Bank: TC ZİRAAT BANKASI
Bank address: Şht. Mustafa Ahmet Ruso Sokak No. 11, Küçük Kaymaklı, Lefkoşa, KKTC
Turkish Lira TL, ₺2,255
Account No: 40298710-5001
Pounds Sterling GBP, £214
Account No: 40298710-5004
US Dollars USD, $289
Account No: 40300032-5001
Euro EUR, €238
Account No: 40298710-5002
A person must have proof of payment for quarantine to be admitted into North Cyprus. Airlines have been told by TRNC officials not to accept passengers who do not present valid receipts.