Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca early on March 11 announced the first confirmed coronavirus case in the country.
The patient is a male Turkish citizen and authorities will not reveal his details to the public due to “patient confidentiality,” Koca told reporters during a press conference.
“One of our citizens tested positive for the virus today, at the evening hours. It is known that the patient has contracted the virus through contact with Europe,” Koca said, adding that the patient’s state of health was “good.”
The patient was placed in quarantine and his family members are currently under observation, the minister said.
‘A patient under quarantine cannot threaten the society’
“Our ministry and our state, with all of its units, have planned the struggle against the coronavirus. The risk is concrete and precautions are simple. Coronavirus is not stronger than the precautions we will take. A patient is not all together a risk. A patient that is placed under quarantine cannot threaten the society,” Koca said.
The minister reiterated his previous warning that citizens should not travel abroad unless their trip “is compulsory.” “Those who come from abroad should isolate themselves for 14 days,” he said.
Koca had earlier said that it is high likely that the coronavirus outbreak is in Turkey. “It is highly likely this outbreak is currently in Turkey. There are no confirmed cases of this virus,” Koca had told reporters on March 10.
Meanwhile, the Directorate General of Health for Border and Coastal Areas, under the Health Ministry, issued a circular saying that it has cancelled all the annual leaves of its personnel “until a second order.” The directorate is the responsible body for health care at borders.
Turkey already suspended all passenger flights from and to China, Iran, Iraq, Italy and South Korea in the wake of an increasing number of coronavirus infections and deaths in those countries.