Turkey announced its first case of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, with “patient zero” testing positive after a trip to Europe following some 2000 suspected cases that all came out negative.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told a press conference in Ankara that the infected person, described as an adult male, was under quarantine in Turkey but did not say where he had traveled in Europe or when he contracted the virus.
"The patient’s general condition is good. All of his family members and those who came into contact with him are under surveillance," Koca said.
Turkey last month closed its border with Iran, which has been hard-hit by the virus, with Ankara canceling all flights to that country and imposing additional precautionary restrictions
The health minister also said that there were no signs of an epidemic in the country, while calling on Turkish citizens to limit foreign travel when possible and follow official guidelines.
Knews understands another case had been confirmed earlier when a passenger who later tested positive had transited through Turkey. But officials said the case was not an incident in that country.
Another passenger who flew to Cyprus via Turkey last week and landed at Ercan airport in north Nicosia was confirmed with the virus in Famagusta, on the island’s eastern coast, while two more cases were also confirmed in the south.
Turkey last month closed its border with Iran, which has been hard-hit by the virus, with Ankara canceling all flights to that country and imposing additional precautionary restrictions.
About 2000 cases had been tested prior to the confirmed case, with all of them reportedly coming back negative.
According to some Turkish media, the country had managed to delay the virus crossing its borders due to local authorities realizing early on the scale of the global-scale threat, while airport checks went beyond simple screenings.
“The coronavirus is not stronger than the measures we will take. A quarantined patient cannot threaten society," Koca said, while urging Turkish citizens to avoid going abroad unless it was absolutely necessary.
The coronavirus, known also as COVID-19, has spread to six continents and more than 100 countries.