ISTANBUL, Turkey – Turkey announced Wednesday, March 11, its first coronavirus case, a man who had recently traveled to Europe and is in good health.
“The test of a patient suspected of carrying the coronavirus returned positive,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said in a television broadcast.
He added that the man was likely to have contracted COVID-19 while traveling in Europe, but declined to say which country or where in Turkey the patient had been hospitalized.
The minister also called on Turkish citizens to avoid traveling abroad if possible.
Turkey, a tourist hub linking Europe and western Asia, had around 50 million visitors last year.
It has a population of 80 million and shares a border with Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Syria, Iraq, and Iran, the country with the third-most infections worldwide.
Turkey has announced several measures in recent weeks to try and stop the virus reaching the country, including thermal cameras at airports, canceling flights to affected countries and closing its border with Iran.
Hospitals in Istanbul and the capital Ankara have been set up to test and quarantine patients suspected of having the virus.
After erupting in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, the novel coronavirus has now affected societies and economies on all continents except Antarctica.
There are more than 117,000 coronavirus cases, with 4,251 deaths across 107 countries and territories, according to a tally compiled by AFP. – Rappler.com