By Havva Kara Aydin
ANKARA (AA) - Turks returning from Iran amid coronavirus fears tested negative for the disease, Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said Tuesday.
A total of 132 Turkish citizens arrived in the Turkish capital Ankara earlier Tuesday, after they were evacuated from Iran where 15 deaths from coronavirus have been confirmed.
The evacuees are in 14-day quarantine in a hospital.
Koca said there is no confirmed coronavirus cases in Turkey thanks to the effective measures against the disease.
“We decided to land the plane to Ankara after noticing signs of cough without fever with some passengers, and also learning that some of the passengers had visited Qom and Mashhad cities of Iran,” he told reporters, referring to the two cities where the virus was found in Iran.
There is an experienced team in Ankara and this is the main reason behind the decision to alter plans to land in Istanbul, he added.
He stressed that Iranian citizens are allowed to go home but Turkish citizens are banned from Iran.
“If Turkish citizens want to come home from Iran, we will use every means available to bring them,” he added.
Turkey will send cargo planes loaded with aid to China in the coming days, and diagnostic kits to Iran on Wednesday to meet the country's demand.
Iran has reported 95 confirmed cases so far.
Coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, has sounded global alarms, with China reporting 2,663 deaths from the outbreak, and health experts grappling to find a cure.
Outside mainland China, the coronavirus has spread to more than 30 other countries including the U.S., U.K., Singapore, France, Russia, Spain, and India.
The World Health Organization declared the outbreak an international health emergency.