Turkey, Middle East

Top Turkish, Iranian officials talk COVID-19 on phone

Mevlut Cavuoglu, Jawad Zarif also discuss Sunday's earthquake near Iranian border which killed 9 people in Turkey

Ahmet Furkan Mercan   | 24.02.2020
Top Turkish, Iranian officials talk COVID-19 on phone


Turkey’s foreign minister and his Iranian counterpart on Monday discussed the coronavirus outbreak as well as yesterday’s earthquake which struck eastern Turkey near Iran’s border, according to diplomatic sources. 

In a phone call, Javad Zarif expressed his condolences over the death of nine Turkish people from the 5.9 magnitude earthquake in the border region, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

On Sunday, Khoy in northwestern Iran was hit by two quakes, whose tremors were also felt in Turkey's Van province, according to Turkey's National Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).

The duo also discussed the coronavirus outbreak, which has so far killed 12 people in Iran, with 47 confirmed cases, according to the Health Ministry.

Turkey on Sunday temporarily closed its border with Iran and halted flights from Iran to prevent the virus from spreading.

There are no reported cases of the virus in Turkey.

A total of 2,625 people around the world have lost their lives since the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, first emerged in Wuhan, China.

The death toll of the outbreak has reached 2,592 in mainland China, while two more lost their lives in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

COVID-19 has reportedly killed seven people in South Korea, four in Japan, five in Italy, and one each in Taiwan, the Philippines, and France.

Last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak an international health emergency.

Later, in a phone call, Kosovar Foreign Minister Glauk Konjufca also extended to Turkey his condolences for the lives lost in the earthquake in Van.

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