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Coronavirus: Turkey announces first death from virus

The death was an 89-year old, Turkish health ministry says as cases increase by 51 to reach total of 98 infected individuals
Municipality workers in protective suits disinfect the entrance of Taksim metro station in Istanbul (Reuters)

Turkey has announced its first death related to the novel coronavirus, as the country also reports 51 new cases of the disease, reaching a current total of 98.

The victim was an 89-year-old man who had been in contact with an employee who had connections to China, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told reporters during a press conference late on Tuesday.

Turkey has already passed strict measures to curb an outbreak of the virus, including closing down schools, universities, mosques, and barring flights from more than a dozen different countries.

The country has now doubled the number of coronavirus cases, also known as Covid-19, in a period of roughly 24 hours. The Turkish government previously announced on Monday that the number of cases had increased from 18 to 47.

Also on Monday, the country had announced a multitude of new measures that would go into effect in order to help stop the virus from spreading.

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Turkey has banned all flights from the UK, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Ireland and United Arab Emirates as of 8am on Tuesday, adding to a list of already banned flights to and from nine European countries, including France, Germany, and Spain.

Coronavirus: Turkey bans flights from UK, UAE and others to help combat virus spread
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As of now, only restaurants with proper licences have been allowed to remain open.

Ali Erbas, Turkey's head of religious affairs, announced on Monday that all congregational worship taking place in mosques in the country would be banned, saying that there was a great danger that the virus could spread if prayers in congregation continue.

Turkey has also quarantined more than 10,000 pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia, in an attempt to guard against the spread of the coronavirus.

Turkey's Interior Ministry said it has identified 93 suspects who have made "unfounded and provocative" social media posts about the coronavirus outbreak and has detained 19 of them.

"Nineteen of these suspects have been detained and the process of detaining others who have been identified is continuing," said the statement, issued late on Monday.

The posts were targeting officials and spreading panic by suggesting that the virus had spread widely in Turkey and that officials had taken insufficient measures.

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