Initial tests on 12 people in Turkey’s Central Anatolian province of Aksaray for the deadly coronavirus have come back negative, according to the provincial health directorate.
Of the 12 people, 10 are Chinese tourists who have come to Turkey to see the historical region of Cappadocia, while the two others are the driver and tour guide.
When one of the Chinese tourists presented symptoms of coughing, fever and nausea, the tour group visited a health center, with officials then dispatching all of the 12 people to the Aksaray Training and Research Hospital for detailed tests.
In the meantime, the hospital staff were given face masks as a precautionary measure.
Aksaray Governor Ali Mantı and Aksaray Provincial Health Director Dr. Kerim Yeşildağ late on Jan. 27 held a press meeting saying that the 12 people were being currently monitored in the hospital.
Yeşildağ said initial tests on the 12 people have come back negative. “What we are doing right now is only a precautionary measure. One of the Chinese nationals has a symptom of coughing and fever. We have placed them under observation taking into the account the place they come from. Their chest x-rays are normal. We will keep them under observation for 24 hours. We have received their blood samples and sent them to the ministry; the results will come out in 24 hours,” he said.
Yeşildağ also said that hygiene is one of the most important lines of defense against the deadly virus. “I advise citizens to pay attention to hygiene, as is the case with normal respiratory infections, as a precautionary measure,” he said.
Turkey urges citizens not to travel Hubei, China
Meanwhile, Turkey on Jan. 27 urged its citizens not to travel China unless it is necessary.
“It is highly recommended that our citizens do not travel to China unless it is necessary and if they travel there, they should stay away from the regions where the [coronavirus] cases are seen, especially in Hubei province,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
With pneumonia-like symptoms, coronavirus in the Hubei province has become a nationwide threat to public health, with the number of cases rising, it added.
Turkish citizens who live in China and have to travel to other parts of the country should follow health precautions, it said.
They should follow “closely” the statements and warnings of Turkey’s Embassy in Beijing, consulates in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and China, and the World Health Organization.
The virus, which originated in the city of Wuhan, has spread across 29 provinces in the country.
More than 30 cases have been reported in Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Thailand, the U.S., Singapore, France, Malaysia, Australia, and Vietnam.
Chinese authorities on Jan. 26 announced plans to extend the Lunar New Year holiday, which was originally set to end on Jan. 30.
Travelers from China are being screened for the virus at airports worldwide, and many airlines have suspended flights to Wuhan.
At a meeting last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) postponed a decision on declaring the outbreak a health emergency, saying it needed more information about the virus.