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Coronavirus: Turkey reports first case of COVID-19

The country's first coronavirus patient was tested with high fever and a cough and is in stable condition
Turkey's health ministry said that the risk of an outbreak in the country is quite high (Reuters)

Turkey has reported its first case of coronavirus as the illness continues to spread across the Middle East and North Africa.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told reporters late on Tuesday that the virus had been detected in a male citizen who had contracted the disease - officially known as COVID-19 - while in Europe.

The patient has since been isolated and his family members have quarantined, Koca said.

The minister warned citizens against unnecessary travel abroad and urged them to follow all methods of protection against the coronavirus announced by the ministry.

"We should limit human touch, travel abroad as little as possible, self-quarantine ourselves, and take special care of the elderly," Koca said.

He added that one 86-year-old American woman tested positive for the virus did not visit Turkey, but simply passed through an airport.

While the Middle East has been severly impacted by the outbreak, Turkey remains largely unaffected by the disease. 

Iran remains the epicentre of the virus in the region, with authorities reporting 54 deaths on Tuesday alone.

So far, an estimated 8,042 cases have been reported, with 291 confirmed deaths.

Last month, Turkey closed its border gates with Iran, one of the countries worst hit by coronavirus, and cancelled all flights to the country.

The global death toll from coronavirus is over 4,000, with more than 113,000 confirmed cases in 110 countries, according to the World Health Organisation.