Iran, women with masks for coronavirus

Turkey sends medical aid to Iran to curb coronavirus

At least 26 countries have requested medical advice and coronavirus detection kits from Turkey, which will quarantine almost 4,000 Turkish citizens who will be repatriated today from Europe.

The Turkish Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday that a large shipment of medical aid will be send to Iran to deal with the coronavirus epidemic, which has infected more than 16,000 people in the neighbouring country and caused nearly a thousand deaths, being the country with the highest number of infections in the world after China and Italy.

The aid is part of an agreement signed between both nations and includes sending 1,000 kits containing tests to detect the coronavirus, 4,715 protective suits, 20,000 surgical gowns, 2,004 protective glasses, 4,000 face masks with N95 protection, and 78,000 masks with three-layer protection.

Turkey was one of the first countries to close its border with Iran after the first cases of COVID-19 disease were detected in this country, and since then the authorities in Tehran have repeatedly asked for help to Turkey, which until last week had not registered any case of the coronavirus. At least 26 countries have requested medical advice from the Turkish government, as well as virus detection kits.

Ankara announced new and restrictive measures on Monday to curb the spread of the coronavirus throughout the country, where around fifty cases have already been detected through Turkish citizens who have returned to Turkey. One of those measures includes the closure until further notice of bars, cafes and other public places, which now hang the “closed by coronavirus” sign.

Nearly empty restaurants and shops in Istanbul

Even places excluded from the ban such as restaurants, the Grand Bazaar or the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul, hardly had customers on Tuesday. “With each new case, the number of visitors falls. There are only a few tourists, and they are the ones who came to Turkey before the first cases appeared,” said a local salesman, who also regrets that even Turks themselves are refusing to buy for fear of the virus.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu announced on Tuesday that 3,614 Turkish citizens will arrive tonight in 34 planes from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden after requesting their repatriation to Turkey; they will be put under quarantine in facilities in the provinces of Istanbul and Kocaeli due to the possibility that they may be infected with the coronavirus.