Transit passenger on Turkey-Singapore flight tests positive for coronavirus

A passenger who arrived in Singapore on March 2 aboard a Turkish Airlines plane tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting the plane to be sent back empty on March 4. The passenger was a French national and transited through Istanbul en route to Singapore from London. The crew tested negative for the virus in Singapore.


A Turkish Airlines aircraft was flown back to Istanbul with no passengers on board on March 4 after a passenger who had arrived to Singapore on it on March 2 tested positive for coronavirus.

There were 143 passengers aboard the flight, as well as three pilots and 10 crew members.

The infected passenger was a French national travelling from London to Singapore, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said, and the plane's crew would be held in quarantine for 14 days as a precaution.

Singapore's aviation regulator said that the pilots and crew of the flight TK54 that arrived on March 2 were flown back to Istanbul where they would be placed in quarantine.

The crew tested negative for the virus in Singapore, the aviation official said.

"The crew had come into close contact with a passenger on flight TK54 who subsequently tested positive for COVID-19," the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said in a statement.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in contact with the Turkish Embassy, which has confirmed that the crew will be quarantined upon arrival at Istanbul," CAAS said.

Singapore's transport ministry said in a statement on its website that authorities had begun tracing passengers on flight TK54 that may have had contact with the infected person.

Turkey has had groups traveling in from China and Iran quarantined, but no patients had tested positive until the passenger in Singapore.

Turkish Airlines declined to comment.