Duvar English

Turkey has extended its coronavirus travel ban to include six more countries, making the total number of countries 20, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on March 16.

The United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Egypt, Ireland and the United Arab Emirates have been also added to the list of banned countries, Koca said during a press conference.

The new travel bans will apply as of 8 a.m. on March 17.

Turkey has additional confirmed cases of coronavirus and the new number will be announced later on March 16, he said. Earlier on March 16, Koca had said that Turkey has so far identified a total of 18 coronavirus cases.

“There has not been any deaths due to coronavirus, but this does not mean it will not occur,” Koca said, adding that some of the patients had been suffering from respiratory problems.

The number of labs authorized to perform coronavirus tests will increase from six to 16 by the weekend, the minister said, amid criticism that only a few labs are allowed to run the testing in the country.

Last week, Turkey became the last major economy to report an outbreak after taking what the World Health Organization (WHO) described as “vigilant” measures to delay it.

Since then, the government has ramped up measures to halt the spread of the virus.