Coronavirus: Turkey quarantines 10,000 pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia

Turkish citizens wearing protective face masks sit in a bus as they are repatriated from the Umrah pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, prior to being placed in quarantine as part of measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus, on March 15, 2020, in Ankara. (AFP)

Turkey on Sunday quarantined thousands of pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia, officials said, after recording one more coronavirus case bringing the total number to six.

"All the passengers returning from pilgrimage as of last night (Saturday) are being placed into separate rooms for quarantine" in student dorms in the capital Ankara and nearby Konya provinces, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced on Sunday.

Visit our dedicated coronavirus site here for all the latest updates.

Approximately 10,000 pilgrims returned from Saudi Arabia on Saturday night, youth and sports minister Mehmet Kasapoglu was quoted as saying by the official Anadolu news agency.

Koca said the number of confirmed cases in Turkey reached six after one of the pilgrims who returned from visiting the holy sites in Saudi Arabia over the last one week tested positive.

"Those found suspicious are hospitalized as soon as they return and tested," he said.

Turkey's religious affairs authority, Diyanet, said the travels for pilgrimage have been halted from February 27.

As part of its bid to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, Turkey has applied travel restrictions on a total of 15 countries including France, Italy and Germany.

Ankara has already ordered schools to close for two weeks from Monday and universities to take a three-week holiday, as well as imposing restrictions on civil servants' foreign travel.

Read more:

Turkey confirms first coronavirus case in the country

Turkey to close schools, universities for a week over coronavirus

‘Corona!’ Thermal camera protects President Erdogan in Turkish parliament

SHOW MORE
Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:02 - GMT 07:02
Top