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Turkey says schools, universities to shut over coronavirus

March 12, 2020 at 7:15 pm

In this photo illustration coronavirus (2019-nCoV) positive blood samples on 14 February 2020 [ Aytaç Ünal – Anadolu Agency]

Turkish schools will be closed for one week and universities for three weeks from March 16, and all sports events will be played without spectators until the end of April in response to the coronavirus outbreak, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said, Reuters reports.

The moves came after Turkey confirmed its first coronavirus infection on Wednesday, becoming the last major economy to report an outbreak after taking what the World Health Organization (WHO) described as vigilant measures.

At a news conference following a meeting of ministers at the presidential palace, Kalin also said that President Tayyip Erdogan’s foreign visits and programmes will be postponed for some time due to the spread of the virus.

Kalin said primary, middle and secondary schools would initially be closed for one week and after that students will receive remote online teaching from March 23.

Until Wednesday’s announcement, Turkey had officially managed to avoid an outbreak, though all its neighbours except war-ravaged Syria had reported cases. Iran has an especially high number of cases and deaths.

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