UPDATES WITH REMARKS FROM TURKISH HEALTH, TRADE MINISTERS
By Fahri Aksut and Havva Kara Aydin
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey has decided to temporarily close its border with Iran over the coronavirus outbreak, the health minister said on Sunday.
Speaking to press members in Istanbul, Fahrettin Koca said, "Based on the international health regulation, the road and rail transits from Iran to Turkey were temporarily halted as of 5 p.m. local time [1400GMT] on Sunday."
Turkey has also temporarily halted all international arrival flights from Iran unilaterally as of 8 p.m. local time [1700GMT], Koca said.
Reminding the rising death toll from the coronavirus and the number of affected people in Iran, he stressed that additional measures were needed to reduce the border movement with the suggestion of the ministry’s scientific committee.
After the measures have been taken, all the passengers coming from Iran to Turkey have been checked by the health officials, he said.
Due to the findings of the disease, at least eight Iranian citizens were not allowed to enter Turkey on Saturday and Friday, Koca noted.
The health minister also said five people, suspected with cold symptoms, tested negative in Turkey’s eastern Van province.
Meanwhile, export and transit operations from Turkey to Iran continue in a controlled manner, Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan wrote on Twitter.
But she said entries of all vehicles, goods, and passengers from Iran have been temporarily stopped as a precaution.
According to Iran's Health Ministry, the death toll from coronavirus in Iran has risen to eight, and over 40 cases were confirmed.
In China, the epicenter of the virus, the death toll from the outbreak has reached 2,444, with over 76,000 confirmed cases.
Following the global spread of the virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak an international health emergency.