Turkey stops all flights from China due to coronavirus threat

World Faizah Kamal 04-Feb-2020
ID 170313388 © thanakorn hormniam | Dreamstime.com

Turkey has decided to stop all incoming flights from China until the end of February, the health minister has said, as part of measures taken against the coronavirus threat.

“Starting from Wednesday [February 5], we have decided to stop all the flights from China,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told reporters at a press conference on February 3 after the Science Council meeting. Turkey had already reduced the number of Turkish Airlines flights to China after the coronavirus outbreak.

The minister informed that the number of the flights to and from China has significantly dropped because of health concerns. He added that all the passengers arriving to Turkish airports from far-eastern countries, such as Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Malaysia will be screened by thermal cameras in order to avoid the spread of the coronavirus into Turkey.

“This will be started from tomorrow [February 4], he stated.

The minister provided information about ongoing medical tests carried out on 62 people who have been quarantined after being evacuated from China’s Wuhan region. Tests have proven that none of those tested have the coronavirus, the minister said, adding that these people will continue to be under quarantine for 14 days, which is in line with the virus’ incubation period.

“We are not treating them as patients. They are in very good condition and we are meeting their demands,” he stated.

The coronavirus, named so because it resembles a crown under a microscope, has killed at least 361 people in China, with over 14,000 infected. Since its outbreak late last year, China has put Wuhan under lockdown in a bid to contain the virus and built a 1,000-bed hospital to treat those affected.