Turkey has closed its border with Iran and halted flights to Turkey from Iran in the aftermath of an increasing number of coronavirus infections and deaths in the neighboring country, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced on Sunday.
“We’ve decided to temporarily close the border with our neighbor,” Koca said in reference to Iran, which is the first country in the Middle East where people have died from the deadly coronavirus, or COVID-19, which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan but continues to spread across the world.
The death toll from the deadly coronavirus rose to 18 in Iran on Sunday, Al Arabiya reported, citing Iranian sources.
The minister said crossings from Turkey into Iran are unaffected.
In addition to Turkey, countries such as Iraq, Pakistan and Turkmenistan have also closed their borders with Iran due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.
In the meantime, four Turkish citizens who recently travelled to Turkey from Iran have been hospitalized in the eastern province of Van, with three of them in intensive care on suspicion of a coronavirus infection, according to a report by the Euronews Turkish edition on Sunday. It is not yet clear whether these persons have contracted the deadly virus.