Anadolu Agency

Turkey is allowing civil servants to work from home and in shifts as part of measures to address the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to an announcement published March 22 in the Official Gazette with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s signature.

The flexible work arrangements apply to employees of public institutions and organizations, said the statement.

The decision for state workers, who were previously being considered for administrative leave, will be valid until a new one is made, it added.

The novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, first emerged in Wuhan, China last December and has spread to at least 169 countries and regions, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

More than 329,000 confirmed cases have been recorded worldwide with the death toll now approaching 14,400, while over 97,000 have recovered.

Despite the rising number of cases, most who become infected suffer only mild symptoms and recover.

The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a pandemic.