Turkey has suspended flights from the UK, Denmark, the Netherlands and South Africa due to concerns over a new rapidly spreading strain of the coronavirus.
“It has been reported that the rate of transmission has increased in the UK with the mutation of the coronavirus”, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca wrote on Twitter on late on Sunday evening.
“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 UK, Denmark, the Netherlands, and South Africa to our country”, Koca said.
“Measures are carried out in full coordination”, the minister added.
Early on Sunday, Turkey had already begun testing passengers arriving from the UK for the new variant of Covid-19.
All passengers’ contact details were collected, and they are required to self-isolate.
In recent weeks, following a spike in the number of cases of the coronavirus, Turkey increased measures by 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 pm on Fridays until 5 am on Mondays while weeknight curfews are in effect from 9 pm to 5 am.
Supermarkets, grocery stores, butchers and dried fruit shops, however, operate between 10 am and 5 pm on weekends. Bakeries are also open during weekend curfews.
For the third weekend, millions of people across the country were under full lockdown.
The Ministry of the Interior thanked the public for their patience, sacrifice and understanding.