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Coronavirus: Turkey reports six total cases, suspends flights to nine European countries

Meanwhile, Erdogan is scheduled to hold talks with his French and German counterparts via teleconference rather than hosting a summit in Istanbul
Workers wearing protective clothing disinfect the main hall of Parliament in Ankara, on 13 March 2020 (AFP)

Turkey recorded a new case of coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the total tally to six in one of the least infected countries in the Middle East, according to Health Minister Fahrettin Koca.

The most recent patient was in Saudi Arabia last week for Umrah, as the first five cases were members of the same family.

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Turkey announced earlier this week that a Turkish man had been registered as the country's first coronavirus case.

A government spokesman said the patient’s state was stable, and his close family continued to be quarantined and were healthy.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Mehmet Cahit Turhan said on Friday that Turkey is halting flights to and from Germany, France, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, and the Netherlands as of Saturday morning until 17 April as part of the efforts to contain coronavirus.

A ban is already in place on flight connections with China, Iran, Iraq, Italy and South Korea.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has suspended his foreign trips, said he would hold talks with French and German leaders about solving the migration crisis next week by teleconference rather than hosting a summit as originally planned.

Erdogan announced on Thursday that schools and universities would be closed from Monday over coronavirus outbreak concerns.

Sporting events will be carried out, though without spectators, and public employees will only be able to leave the country with specific permits.

“Primary and secondary schools will be closed beginning on 16 March for a week. After that the ministry of education will continue to teach students through an online platform and TVs for another week,” presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Thursday.

Kalin added that universities would be closed for three weeks.

The country has also suspended family visits to prisoners for two weeks from Friday to prevent the spread of the virus.

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