Turkey halts flights to Italy, S. Korea, Iraq over coronavirus fears

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Turkey has halted passenger flights to and from Iraq, Italy and South Korea in the wake of an increasing number of coronavirus infections and deaths in those countries, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced on Saturday.

Koca said in a written statement that the measure will be effective at 12 a.m. on Sunday, adding that land crossings between Turkey and neighboring Iraq had also been stopped.

Turkey had earlier halted flights to China and Iran as well as closing the border gate with Iran due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

Koca also said no cases of coronavirus have been reported so far in Turkey.

Seoul is grappling with the largest outbreak of COVID-19 outside China, the epicenter of the deadly virus. The National Health Commission reported on Saturday at least 47 new deaths, bringing to 2,835 the number of fatalities nationwide among 79,251 confirmed cases.

In Europe, Italy has reported more than 1,000 coronavirus cases and 29 deaths, the most in Europe.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Friday that the spread of the virus was “getting bigger.” More than 85,000 people have been infected worldwide.

At least 210 people have died in Iran from the coronavirus, according sources in the country’s health system who spoke to BBC Persian.

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