More pressure on UK government to recognise North Cyprus Covid vaccination certificates

Scottish MP Drew Hendry is the latest politician to press the British government on recognising Covid-19 vaccination certificates issued by the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC).

The Shadow SNP (Scottish National Party) Spokesperson for Trade tabled a question in Parliament asking the Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on “what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of recognising Covid-19 Vaccine Certificates from Northern Cyprus?”

Responding for the Secretary of State, Wendy Morton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) said on 22 November 2021:

“People vaccinated in the north of Cyprus with access to the European Union Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) can use this to evidence their vaccine status. We understand that some people vaccinated in the north of Cyprus may not have access to a UK-accepted certificate and are looking at whether there are ways to address this.”

Tens of thousands of people vaccinated in North Cyprus, some with vaccines sent by the UK and European Union, are currently obliged to quarantine when entering Britain or an EU state.

Border officials treat them as if they are not vaccinated because their TRNC Covid-19 vaccination certificates are not recognised by either the British or European authorities, requiring them to do home quarantine for ten days and PCR tests on Day 2 and Day 8.

The EUDCC for Cyprus is only available to those vaccinated in South Cyprus, and Turkish Cypriots inoculated in North Cyprus who are also Republic of Cyprus citizens.

This excludes virtually the entire British expat community living in the TRNC, including British born-Turkish Cypriots, thought to number over 30,000 people.

Mr Hendry’s question on the lack of UK recognition for TRNC follows a similar question posed by Julian Sturdy, the Conservative MP for York Outer.

Last month, Mr Sturdy challenged the Health Secretary Sajid Javid over the UK’s failure to accept certificates for AstraZeneca Covid vaccines administered in the TRNC.

The response from Maggie Throup, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care, on 27 October 2021 failed to make any provision for those excluded under the EUDCC scheme in North Cyprus.

Orpington resident Inci Akin was recently told by her local MP Gareth Bacon that he would also take the issue up with the Government, after she informed him her relatives were unable to travel to the UK from North Cyprus because of the 10-day home quarantine rule.

“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,” Ms Akin told T-VINE.