People inoculated against the coronavirus in the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC) will no longer have to self-isolate for ten days when they visit Britain following rule changes that come in to force on Monday, 10 January.
Up until now, those jabbed against Covid-19 in the TRNC and arriving in Britain were treated by border officials as if they were unvaccinated, obliging them to do ten days home isolation along with costly Day 2 and Day 8 PCR tests when they arrived in the UK.
The requirements served as a deterrent for many who intended to make only short trips to Britain, including renowned Turkish Cypriot artist Emin Çizenel, who was unable to travel to London for the gala reception of the TA London exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery last October.
Finally, after months of lobbying by the TRNC Presidency and government officials, along with British nationals – both those of Turkish Cypriot heritage and expatriates living in the TRNC – backed by a host of British MPs, including Julian Sturdy, Drew Hendry and Gareth Bacon, the UK Government has agreed to recognise Covid-19 vaccination certificates issued in North Cyprus.
The news was announced on Tuesday, 4 January 2022, as part of the latest Covid guidelines issued by the Department of Transport and Department of Health and Social Care and published online the following day.
The vaccination details for the TRNC appears in a global list of countries on the UK government website under the header ‘Countries with an approved proof of vaccination and examples of proof required’.
There is an existing entry for Cyprus, which is followed on the list by a new entry named “Cyprus, northern” (as shown above). This new listing states that North Cyprus’ vaccination certificate will be accepted along with those who have the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EU DCC):
“Cyprus, northern: Will be added to this list 4am Monday 10 January. Proof of vaccination will be EU DCC or vaccine certificate.”
Orpington constituent gets “welcome news” from her MP Gareth Bacon
The good news was broken to Orpington resident Inci Akin by her local MP Gareth Bacon, who sent her a letter confirming the rule changes.
Ms Akin met with the Conservative politician in November to explain the problems her relatives and others vaccinated in the TRNC were facing, and enlist his support.
At the time, she told T-VINE: “It’s not fair that the British Government is discriminating against its own people who were vaccinated in North Cyprus with approved [Covid] vaccines. They need to find a solution, so our relatives can come to the UK without having to be stuck at home for 10 days.”
Keeping to his word, Mr Bacon raised Ms Akin’s issue with the relevant authorities and sent her an “update”, detailing the North Cyprus vaccine certificate rule change, along with a link to the relevant section of the UK Government website.
“I hope this is welcome news,” Mr Bacon wrote in his letter to Ms Akin, adding, “although I understand the frustration this issue much have caused you.”
Responding to his letter, Ms Akin said: “It’s fantastic news – the perfect start to the New Year!
“Although my MP was really lovely when I met him at his surgery [in November] and promised to help, I didn’t expect anything if I’m being totally honest. We are so used to being disappointed when it comes to the UK’s treatment of North Cyprus, so this letter from Mr Bacon saying the [UK] Government is going to start accepting TRNC vaccine certificates has blown me away.
“I want to say a huge thank you to Mr Bacon. It was the first time I’ve ever contacted my local MP on an issue and it shows it can make a difference.
“Hopefully, the UK Government will keep going and we see positive change with other policies affecting North Cyprus. All we want is for both sides [in Cyprus] to be treated equally.”
To be accepted as proof of vaccination, a person’s vaccine certificate must adhere to the following rules.
The vaccine certificate must be issued by a national or state-level public health authority, be in English, French or Spanish, and include as a minimum:
- A person’s forename and surname(s)
- Their date of birth
- The vaccine brand and manufacturer
- The date of vaccination for every dose
- And the country or territory of vaccination and/or certificate issuer
Travellers must have had a complete course (two jabs) of one of the following vaccines at least 14 days before they arrive in England:
- Janssen (single dose vaccine)
- Novavax (Nuvaxovid and Covovax) – from 4am, Monday 10 January
- Pfizer BioNTech
- Sinopharm Beijing
UK guidance states that the day a person has their final dose does not count as one of the 14 days.
For the latest Covid travel rules for both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons, as well as border guidelines for entering England, visit the UK Gov website.
Image, top, from Facebook / Conservative Friends of Turkish Cypriots