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Turkey quarantines 12 areas, suspends international flights

Turkey's health minister said the number of coronavirus-related deaths had risen to 92 [Getty]

Date of publication: 28 March, 2020

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Turkey's interior minister said 12 towns and villages have been quarantined, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the suspension of international flights.
A dozen areas have been placed under quarantine across Turkey to fight the novel coronavirus outbreak, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Friday.

"When the risk of contagion in some villages or towns is high, such a decision can be made," Soylu told the private NTV television. 

"In total, 12 towns and villages have been quarantined," he said.

Soylu confirmed the lockdown in five areas in the Black Sea province of Rize after there was one coronavirus death in the region. He did not name the other areas. 

The town of Kendirli and four adjoining villages were in lockdown to stem potential coronavirus cases, the provincial health directorate said in a statement.

Traffic to and from these areas was banned. The statement said that people with symptoms of coughing or fever would be identified and undergo health checks in their homes.

If their situation is serious, they will be hospitalised, the statement added.  

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said Friday that the number of coronavirus-related deaths in Turkey had risen to 92, while total cases reached 5,698.

Officials have not provided a breakdown of cases by region. 

In a televised speech, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced additional measures to combat the pandemic, including the suspension of all international flights.

Also, picnic spots, forests and archeological sites will be closed on weekends. All intercity trips will be subject to approval from local governors. 

Turkey has already taken a raft of measures from shutting schools and universities, suspending football games to banning mass prayers.

But it has stopped short of declaring a complete lockdown. 

Erdogan urged Turks to stick to the "voluntary quarantine conditions" and not to go out unless absolutely necessary.

Addressing the subject of detentions after "provocative" social media posts, Soylu said the number had reached 477 from 410 - 70 percent of which belonged to terror groups including outlawed Kurdish militants and followers of US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen.

Ankara blames Gulen for a failed 2016 coup.

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