Turkey's Transport Ministry said on Sunday, July 19, that flights to Afghanistan and Iran would be suspended due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The announcement comes following Iran's President Hassan Rouhani's estimate that up to 25 million people could have been infected by COVID-19 in the country; however, Iranian health officials later attempted to play down the president's estimate.
It is now mandatory to wear face masks in 48 of the country's 81 provinces. According to media sources, the wearing of masks is obligatory in all public spaces in the provinces, specifically in markets and supermarkets, hairdressers, and barbershops. It is also compulsory on all public transport, including Metro services, buses, taxis, and ferries. In some areas, masks must be worn when traveling in private vehicles with more than one person.
The government began lifting COVID-19 restrictions on intercity travel and other measures from June 1, allowing restaurants, cafes, parks, sports facilities, and other public spaces to reopen. Movement restrictions have also been eased.
As of Monday, July 20, there have been 219,641 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, and 5491 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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