Turkey to start requiring passengers to present negative COVID-19 test results

International travellers arriving at Turkey’s border crossings and airports will be required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test to enter the country, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced on Friday.

The requirement will be put in place on Dec. 28 for land travel, and Dec. 30 for airline passengers, state-run Anadolu agency cited a written statement by Koca as saying.

Passengers won’t be allowed to board planes if they fail to present a negative test taken in the last 72 hours, Koca said, while those arriving at border gates without negative test results will be quarantined at their residences.

The practice has been authorized until March 1.

Travellers who have been in Britain, Denmark and South Africa in the last 10 days will need to both present a negative test, and be quarantined at their residences, “to keep this new variant of the virus from entering our country,” Koca said.

Turkey recorded a total of 20,742 symptomatic and asymptomatic cases on Friday, while figures released by the Health Ministry showed more than 128,000 active cases. The country's death toll is climbing towards 20,000, with 19,371 people dead since March.