Coronavirus has spread to 170 countries around the world, with Turkey reporting the 27th highest number of infections in Europe. The deadly virus has infected 208,507 people around the world, 8,282 of which have died. But is it still safe to travel to Turkey and are flights still available?
Coronavirus has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
On Wednesday, Italy reported the highest daily death toll figure with 475 fatalities, an increase of 19 percent in the past 24 hours.
Italy is the hardest hit nation outside China and has been on total lockdown since March 9.
European Union leaders have agreed to close the bloc’s external borders to most non-EU citizens for 30 days.
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How serious is the coronavirus outbreak in Turkey?
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has urged Turkish nationals not to leave their homes except for emergencies in a bid to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
Speaking on Wednesday President Erdoğan said it would take three weeks to overcome the situation if the public complies with the measures outlined by authorities.
He said: “Pandemics have a relatively lower death toll compared to other diseases thanks to preventive health services and developments in the pharmaceutical sector.
“Still, they have the potential to cause mass deaths without preventive measures.
“We need to take fast and effective measures. We don’t know how this (virus) will affect humanity.
“We are entering an era with likely radical changes in the global, economic, political and social order,”
The president also called on citizens not to visit hospitals outside emergency cases so staff will be relieved of extra workloads in the event of a rise in infection cases.
The first official case of coronavirus was reported in Turkey on March 11.
However, the country first began launching measures fighting against coronavirus in January, such as launching thermal screening for flights from China.
There are 98 confirmed coronavirus cases in Turkey now, meaning the number of cases increased by 51 over a 24-hour period according to the country’s Health Minister.
Of those cases, one person has sadly died, while 97 are still unwell.
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The first fatality announced on Tuesday was a man, aged 89.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said: “The patient that fell victim to coronavirus is found to have contracted the disease from a Chinese employee.”
On Wednesday, Turkey restricted travel, closing its borders with Greece and Bulgaria.
Travellers are no longer permitted to enter or leave through the Pazarkule and Ipsala border gates and Uzunkopru railway border gate to Greece, as well as Derekoy, Hamzabeyli and Kapikule gates to Bulgaria, according to Anadolu Agency.
Is it safe to travel to Turkey?
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all travel to areas within six miles of the border with Syria, except the city of Kilis.
The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:
All other areas of Sirnak, Kilis (including Kilis city) and Hatay provinces
The provinces of Diyarbakir, Tunceli and Hakkari.
In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Turkey announced all flights between Turkey and the UK, Ireland, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE will be cancelled from 8am (local time) on Tuesday.
The FCO advises travellers to check with their airlines before setting off, particularly when returning from Turkey as options are becoming increasingly limited.
Are flights still running from Turkey?
On Monday, Turkey imposed flight bans to six more countries, including the UK and Saudi Arabia.
This ban was in addition to the 20 other countries already included in the ban.
All flights between the UK and Turkey have now been cancelled.
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