Turkey evacuated hundreds of its citizens early Wednesday from seven countries where it has suspended international flights due to the novel coronavirus.
“We have completed the evacuation process of 2,721 students who wanted to return to Turkey from the U.K., Ireland, Switzerland, Poland, Italy, Egypt and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus where flights are suspended,” Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Twitter.
Some 188 students from Italy’s Milan Malpensa Airport landed at Samsun Carsamba Airport in Samsun province on a Turkish Airlines flight. Another 213 students coming from Rome Fiumicino Airport also arrived in the province.
Separately, 142 Turkish citizens evacuated from London landed at Istanbul Airport.
All evacuees were referred to dormitories in Samsun and Sakarya provinces. They will be placed in quarantine for 14 days as part of Turkey’s coronavirus quarantine measures.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said 3,358 students would be brought back from seven countries with flight bans and will be quarantined at dormitories in various Turkish cities.
Turkey has 1,872 confirmed cases, with the death toll at 44, according to the Health Ministry.
After emerging in Wuhan, China last December, the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to at least 169 countries and regions. The World Health Organization has declared it a pandemic.
Out of more than 422,000 confirmed cases worldwide, the death toll now exceeds 18,900, while over 108,000 have recovered.
*Writing by Gozde Bayar
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