Turkey will quarantine for 14 days its citizens returning from Iran amid coronavirus fears, the health minister said on Tuesday, Anadolu reports.
"A special flight has been organized for Turkish citizens who wanted to return home from Iran," Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter.
A total of 132 Turkish citizens flying to the capital Ankara from Iran on Tuesday as well as the flight crew will be quarantined in a hospital for two weeks.
Stating that Turkey has also closed its land borders and railway services with Iran and suspended most flights, Koca added all Turkish citizens who want to return from Iran will be subject to same quarantine process.
"Since Feb. 21, no passengers from Qom, Iran, where coronavirus cases were seen, were allowed to enter Turkey," Koca said, adding that these measures were taken even before the closure of both land borders and railway services with Iran.
"Twenty-six foreign national passengers who showed cold symptoms were sent back as a precaution. On Feb. 21-23, 16 Turkish citizens coming from Iran, who also showed cold symptoms, were put under supervision," he said. "They were all tested negative."
"No coronavirus cases have been found in Turkey," he stressed, adding that maximal efforts are being made to prevent the spread of coronavirus to the country.
Iran has so far reported 15 deaths from the coronavirus, with 95 confirmed cases.
On the evacuation plane landing in Ankara, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said later in the day that same quarantine procedure will be followed as usual.
On trade relations with Iran, Soylu said Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan and Health Minister Koca are evaluating the situation together.
Soylu said: "Transits flights via Turkey to Iran are allowed, but they cannot return to Turkey. So, one-way flow is allowed."
He said exports are halted, as well.
Coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, has sounded global alarms, with China reporting 2,663 deaths from the outbreak, and health experts grappling to find a cure.
Outside mainland China, the coronavirus has spread to more than 30 other countries including the US, UK, Singapore, France, Russia, Spain, and India.
The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak an international health emergency.