Turkey suspends flights from UK, three other nations amid new virus strain
“It has been reported that the rate of transmission has increased in the U.K. with the mutation of the coronavirus,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca wrote on Twitter on late Dec. 20.
“Under the directives of our President [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] in coordination with our Transport and Infrastructure Ministry, a temporary suspension has been decided for flights from the U.K, Denmark, the Netherlands, and South Africa to our country,” Koca said.
“Measures are carried out in full coordination,” the minister added.
Turkey already began testing passengers arriving from the U.K. early on Dec. 20 for the new variant of COVID-19.
All passengers’ contact details were collected, and they are required to self-isolate.
Turkey in recent weeks ramped up measures after a spike in the number of COVID-19, imposing weeknight curfews and full lockdown on weekends as well as allowing restaurants and cafes only to offer delivery and takeaway services.
Weekend lockdowns last from 9 p.m. on Fridays until 5 a.m. on Mondays while weeknight curfews are in effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Supermarkets, grocery stores, butchers and dried fruit shops, however, operate between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekends.
Bakeries are also open during weekend curfews.
Millions of people across the country were under full lockdown for the third weekend.
The Interior Ministry said yesterday that the public largely obeyed the curfews and the weekend lockdowns.
However, legal and administrative actions were taken against a total of 38,874 people who violated the curfews and the lockdown on the weekend between Dec. 14 and Dec. 21, the ministry reported in a statement.
The ministry also thanked the public for their patience, sacrifice and understanding.
The daily number of patients and the number of patients in critical condition continue to drop, Koca said in a tweet.
“The implemented measures and restrictions are delivering results. We believe we will get more evident results,” he added.