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Turkey evacuated thousands of citizens from pandemic-stricken countries

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a travel warning to advise Turkish citizens to refrain from visiting China, the pandemic’s epicenter. Additional warnings were issued in light of coronavirus outbreaks in other countries.

The Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) suspended umrah tours to Saudi Arabia, where Turkish citizens could be subjected to infected persons from around the world.

The Ministry of National Defense, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Health, oversaw the evacuation of Turkish citizens from Wuhan, China on 1 February. Over the following weeks, thousands of students and tourists were repatriated in cooperation with Turkish Airlines.

The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, together with the Ministry of Customs and Trade, gradually suspended all land, air and rail traffic with pandemic-stricken countries, including China, Iran and Italy, and sealed the nation’s borders to limit the population’s exposure to potentially infected persons. A blanket ban was imposed to deny entry to all foreign nationals, who had been in Italy, the pandemic’s European epicenter, within the previous 14 days.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry banned the import of seafood and animal products from China as a precautionary measure.

The Ministry of Health set up field hospitals at Turkey’s borders with Iran, Iraq and Georgia.