Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Northern Cyprus eases some COVID-19-related restrictions from May 15; some restrictions, including ban on entry for foreigners, remain.

This alert affects Northern Cyprus

This alert began 15 May 2020 12:30 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business and travel disruptions

Authorities in Northern Cyprus plan to ease measures imposed to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from May 15. Officials have amended the 2100-0600 curfew to 2200-0600 as of May 15. As of May 20, the curfew will be in force from 2359-0600. Residents will be permitted to leave their homes for individual exercise from May 18. Hairdressers and beauty salons will reopen from May 20; patrons must make appointments to maintain social distancing guidelines. Hotels and casinos may reopen from May 24, provided that employers implement strict hygiene and social distancing protocols. Picnic areas and parks are tentatively scheduled to open June 1. Authorities have indicated that they may reopen borders from June 1; however, travelers would have to undergo 14 days of self-isolation. Educational facilities will likely not reopen before June 30.

Authorities previously relaxed some restrictions as of May 4. Intercity travel has resumed. Hardware, maintenance, and computer repair stores reopened under strict health conditions. Public utility maintenance services, such as plumbers and electricians, have been permitted to operate from May 4.

Preventive measures that remain in force indefinitely include the suspension of all gatherings, rallies, festivals, theatrical productions, and sporting events. Additionally, administrative leave for public servants remains in effect, with the exception of emergency responders, civil aviation, finance personnel, and employees providing essential services.

Restrictions may be reintroduced or amended depending on disease activity in the country.

Background and Analysis
The measures the government has taken correspond with similar actions taken by other European governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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