Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Northern Cyprus extends restrictions on international flights through Sept. 20 due to lack of COVID-19 quarantine accommodation capacity.

Alert Begins 16 Sep 2020 12:12 PM UTC
Alert Expires 21 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC

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

Authorities in Northern Cyprus have extended the restriction prohibiting international arrivals into Ercan International Airport (ECN) due to a lack of accommodation capacity for coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related mandatory quarantine; repatriation, emergency, military, and medical flights are exempt from the restriction. The restriction was set to be lifted Sept. 16. ECN is the country's only commercial airport and only operates direct flights with Turkey. Limited crossing points are open at the land border with Cyprus.

Authorities have also updated the country's travel restrictions. Travelers from Category A countries must present a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on entry, taken within 72 hours before boarding, and will not be required to self-isolate if arriving via Cyprus. For travelers from Category A arriving in Northern Cyprus via Turkey, the rules from Category B will be valid. Travelers from Category B countries must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test upon entry, taken within 120 hours before boarding. The travelers will be additionally quarantined in state-designated quarantine centers at their own expense for seven days after entering the country. Officials will isolate students arriving in Northern Cyprus for higher education for seven days in dormitories or hotels designated by their respective universities. Travelers from Category C countries must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test upon entry, taken within 120 hours before boarding. They must self-isolate at a designated facility at their own expense for at least 14 days, during which authorities may administer a second test.

Authorities previously lifted all domestic movement restrictions and permitted most businesses and facilities to reopen, provided they implement strict hygiene and social distancing measures. However, officials have ordered all entertainment venues, including casinos, to close until Oct. 1 due to an increase in nationwide infection rates. Protective face coverings are mandatory in public spaces. Restrictions may be reintroduced or amended at any time, depending on disease activity in the country.

Follow all official instructions. Abide by official 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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