Duvar English

The breakaway Turkish Cyprus has banned all travel from and to the northern part of the island which it controls.

The ban began on March 14 morning and will be in place until April 1, as per the decision taken at the Council of Ministers headed by Prime Minister Ersin Tatar.

The travel ban will apply to any foreigner, including citizens of Turkey. Only Turkish Cypriot citizens, students who are studying at Turkish Cypriot universities and immigrants who have residency permits will be allowed to enter the breakaway state in the north of the island.

The island of Cyprus is divided between EU member state the Republic of Cyprus and the northern third controlled by the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is recognized only by Turkey.

All civil permanents in the Turkish Cyprus — except firefighters, police officers, officials working in the civil defense industry and finance ministry employees — will be given administrative leave until March 27.

The private sector businesses will be told to temporarily cease operations except those offering basic necessities, such grocery stores, bakeries, gas stations and pharmacies. All entertainment venues will be temporarily shut down until March 27.

“Our people should not go outside; they should stay at home. No one should go outside unless it is compulsory,” Prime Minister Tatar said, while announcing the decision of the Council of Ministers.

Deputy Prime Minister Kudret Özersay said: “No one will be able to come to the country as a [foreign] tourist, including from Turkey.”

Turkish Cypriot officials announced on March 13 that the number of coronavirus patients in the country increased to five — four German tourists and one Turkish Cypriot citizen who traveled from the United Kingdom.