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Coronavirus: Turkey bans flights from UK, UAE and others to help combat virus spread

Flights from Egypt, Ireland, Saudi Arabia and Switzerland are also banned in an effort to slow down the virus' spread
The ban adds to the nine European countries which have already been barred by Ankara (Reuters)

Turkey has announced flight bans on six countries, including the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, in an effort to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.

Egypt, Ireland, Saudi Arabia and Switzerland were also among those added to the list, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told reporters on Monday.

The ban would go into effect at 8am local time on Tuesday, Koca said, adding to the nine European countries, including France, Germany and Spain, which have already been placed on a travel ban.

While the number of cases of the coronavirus in Turkey is relatively low compared to other countries, Ankara has taken several measures to ensure it is able to contain the disease.

The latest figures from the government state 18 people are confirmed to have been infected by the virus, known officially as COVID-19.

On Monday, Turkey's Ministry of Religious Affairs decided to cancel all congregational worship, including Friday prayers, until the threat from the disease passes.

Mosques would still be open to worshippers for individual prayer, but any form of congregational or collective prayer will not be allowed, it said.

Turkey has already shut down schools, colleges, bars, nightclubs and dance venues, in addition to already-closed cinemas, cafes, Turkish baths, amusement parks and swimming pools, to stop the spread of the disease.

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