New TRNC Health Minister gives directive for all Covid-19 regulations to be in English too

All Covid-19 health notices will be in both English and Turkish from today. The change follows a directive from Ünal Üstel, the newly appointed Health Minister for the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC).

Since the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020, tens of thousands of international students and residents in North Cyprus were left to try and figure out the forever changing Covid-19 regulations imposed by the Turkish Cypriot authorities, which were only issued in Turkish.

Repeated complaints and requests for official English translations fell on deaf ears, as former Health Minister Dr Ali and his team stubbornly stuck to Turkish.

It was left to volunteers in the international student body VOIS (Voice of International Students) Cyprus and Issy Atahasan, who runs the North Cyprus Expats Uncut Version, to communicate the rule changes by spending hours each day translating the multiple health notices issued by the government.

That problem was alleviated with Minister Üstel’s directive, which came into force today, Sunday, 28 February. It means the Health Ministry’s daily updates about coronavirus infection rates and all notices about changes to the lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions will also be in English. The notices are posted on the Ministry’s website and Facebook page.

The important change comes ahead of the return of international students to North Cyprus for the resumption of face-to-face higher education classes in March, and the opening up of the country to tourists in April.