Turkey bars entry for travellers from Iran with coronavirus symptoms

All passengers arriving to Turkey from neighbouring Iran are subject to medical checks, and visitors with symptoms for the coronavirus are refused entry to the country, Turkish Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca told state-run Anadolu Agency.  

Since the beginning of its outbreak in December, 5 people have lost their lives from the coronavirus in Iran, where 18 cases have been confirmed out of 750 suspected cases.

The coronavirus outbreak has killed 2,238 people, and 75,465 cases have been confirmed in China, where it began.

Following the confirmed cases and deaths in Iran, Turkish border officials at the Gürbulak Customs Gate, between Turkey’s Ağrı and Iran’s Bazargan provinces, have taken extra precautions, Yeni Şafak newspaper reported.

Travellers are subjected to a medical check by doctors before passport control at the gate, and are turned away by officers, who now use masks and gloves, if they show any symptoms. 

Long-haul drivers crossing into Iran try to avoid leaving their vehicles and eating at public restaurants, Nurettin Altuğ, a driver transporting goods from Turkey to Iraq through Iran, told Yeni Şafak. “We are afraid of bringing the virus back to our families,” Altuğ said.

The most recent strain of the coronavirus has spread through some 30 countries and regions globally.

Out of countries closer to Turkey, the virus has also been confirmed in Egypt, Lebanon and Israel to date. There have been suspicions in Turkey itself, but no cases have been confirmed.

Earlier this month Turkey airlifted 42 people, including Azerbaijan, Georgia and Albania nationals, from China’s Wuhan province, the epicentre of the virus outbreak. The evacuees were monitored for two weeks, the incubation period of the virus, and allowed to leave after testing negative.

During the mission to bring back the 42 people, Turkish health authorities delivered some 100,000 masks and 2,000 protective suits to China. 

Turkey is planning to send more medical aid and equipment to the coronavirus-hit country in a cargo plane, according to Minister Koca.