Freedom day for quarantined Brits
Story & pics by KEREM HASAN / Chief Reporter
Some were critical of the ‘disorganisation’ that ensued following their arrival at Ercan airport, while others expressed concern that they did not undergo the PCR test they paid for, but took the cheaper antibody blood test instead, before being allowed to leave their hotel.
A health official told Cyprus Today that all 62 people at Olivia Palm in Girne had an antibody blood test and the results had returned negative.
Stuart Greenwood who is from West Yorkshire and lives in Boğaz, İskele, said the quarantine procedure was “seriously disorganised.” “We are indeed grateful and happy to be back in North Cyprus, but we feel it is necessary to share the shortcomings in order for them to fix it,” he said.
“It was a complete nightmare from the moment we landed into Ercan airport,” he said. “Aside from the fact that we were made to wait for many hours inside coaches on the tarmac, then more hours at the Malpas hotel before being told it was ‘full,’ when we were taken to the Olivia Palm, I have to say the experience was disappointing.
“The room itself was good and pleasant but the food was disappointing. We never had tea and coffee making facilities and when we ordered tea or coffee, we had to pay for it.
“I am also concerned that despite paying for a PCR test which was part of the £860 package, they performed the cheaper blood test. So why charge for the more expensive PCR test if you are going to undergo the cheaper test?”
John Kerry, who is from Zambia and owns a house in Boğaz, İskele, also expressed “concern” that a PCR test was not administered, “If you pay for a PCR test, you expect to have it,” he said. “And we weren’t informed as to when we would be allowed to leave. We were told at 7.30am on the same day. It would have helped to know at least the night before to prepare.”
Mr Kerry also said that his TRNC-number plated car was in Larnaca airport car park because he had departed from there.
Mr Kerry said the end of his quarantine period could be “the beginning of another nightmare.” “I left the island from Larnaca airport in March and my house keys are in the vehicle. I will find a way to get into my house. I am hoping to be able to get my car transported from the car park in Larnaca to the border checkpoint, and being allowed to collect the car and drive it back to the North. There is no other way. I have to try,” he said.
His hotel room “neighbour”, Margaret Redican, who is from Lancaster and lives in Bellapais, said: “It feels amazing to be out. My first thing will be to have a full English breakfast at Uncle Sam’s American Eatery in Doğanköy and have a cup of real coffee. Then I will go home to unite with my cats. . .all 18 of them!
She said she had “tears in my eyes when she walked out of the hotel and it felt eerie that she was “coming out”
Irene and David Marsh, from Bournemouth and who live in Çatalköy, said they were “very relieved to know that everyone had tested negative and that there are no problems.
“We are very excited to be in North Cyprus which is our home and are really looking forward to just going home, to our daughter, Natalie and granddaughter, Charlotte. We miss the pool and our beautiful cats. The quarantine period actually allowed us to relax as we had a lovely room and the food was ok and we were able to watch the Girne harbour.”
“We are a bit upset that we were receiving calls from friends who were quarantined at the Malpas hotel. They were informed that they were being allowed out but no one informed us of anything until the morning of our departure. There was no communication. We are also a bit upset that there was no tea or coffee making facilities. The rooms were lovely with a good view of the harbour.”
Nigel and Meral Wrisdale, from Lincolnshire ,who live in İskele, have recently moved to North Cyprus.
Mrs Wrisdale said: “We support the quarantine procedure because it’s best for everyone. We decided to move here but our last three months in the UK has been hell, waiting for a flight, moving up and down the country waiting for flights that were cancelled, some 11 times.
In the end we travelled down to London from Manchester in the hope of catching this flight. Our determination to move here was not hindered!
“We are glad to be here. There is no point in being negative about what we went through because these are unprecedented times. We were happy with the food and the hotel was superb. We exercised in our room every day – walking for a minimum of three miles walking around the room, in order to keep active. We have no complaints. We want to thank everyone for making it possible for us to return.”