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The New Arab Staff

Turkey suspends Iran and Afghanistan flights over coronavirus outbreak

Turkish Airlines had gradually restarted international flights as of June 11 [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 July, 2020

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Turkey has suspended flights to Iran and Afghanistan as part of measures against the coronavirus outbreak, the transport ministry said on Sunday.

Turkey on Sunday suspended all flights from Iran and Afghanistan, its transport and infrastructure ministry said, citing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

"Flights to Iran and Afghanistan from Turkey have been suspended by our government as part of preventive measures against coronavirus," said the ministry in a statement.

The announcement came as Iran battles a resurgence of Covid-19, with figures showing a rise in both new infections and deaths since a two-month low in May.

On Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that 35 million Iranians may contract the coronavirus.

The Islamic Republic has been struggling to contain the Middle East's worst Covid-19 outbreak since announcing its first cases in mid-February.

Afghanistan has so far declared just over 34,000 cases of Covid-19, with nearly 1,000 deaths. 

The country's war-ravaged economy has been severely impacted due to a months-long lockdown, with thousands of people losing their jobs in the economic fallout.

Afghanistan has also grappled with increased militant violence in recent months that has diverted vital attention and resources away from the fight against the disease.

The virus has killed more than 588,000 people and infected nearly 14 million around the world since first being detected in China late last year.

The airline sector has been one of the hardest hit as countries lock down to curb the spread of the virus.

Turkish Airlines had gradually restarted international flights as of 11 June.

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