Turkey has identified and quarantined 4,603 airline passengers who arrived from the United Kingdom on or after Dec. 14, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced on Tuesday, as there are widespread concerns about a potentially more contagious strain of the coronavirus emerging from the country.
Turkey suspended flights from the UK, South Africa, Denmark and the Netherlands on Sunday night in response to the new strain of coronavirus said to be circulating there.
Koca tweeted that 335 passengers flying from those countries at the time of Sunday’s announcement were tested for the virus on arrival in Turkey and isolated even if they tested negative.
Top health officials in the UK announced on Saturday that there was no evidence the new variant was more deadly or that would react differently to vaccines, but it was proving to be up to 70 percent more transmissible.
Countries such as Ireland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Italy all blocked flights from the UK, some for 48 hours and others for longer.