Turkey Temporarily Closes the Border with Iran


Minister of Health, Dr. Fahrettin Koca, delivered statement on the measures to be taken against COVID-19 and the latest situation following the earthquake in Iran.

With regard to the 5.9-magnitude earthquake in Iran, which also caused damage at Van's Başkale district, Koca commented: "We dispatched 25 ambulances and 13 medical rescue teams to the field. Unfortunately, 9 people died and 50 were injured."

I would like to pay my condolences to the ones who lost their lives and wish a speedy recovery for the injured."

"We stopped arrivals from Iran"

Minister noted that the number cases reported from 32 countries was 74.402 with 2.464 deaths and said:

"The number of cases and deaths increasing in Iran is alarming for us. The Scientific Board convened on the situation in Iran and every possible scenario was discussed. We have also had contact with Iranian authorities and all relevant institutions and agencies. I personally talked to Said Nemeki, the Minister of Health of Iran. The President is also following this issue very closely."

Pointing out that the number of cases in Iran was 43, Koca continued: "We have three land border gates with Iran: Ağrı Gürbulak, Van Kapıköy and Hakkari Esendere. In addition, we have the Dilucu border gate in Iğdır. Due to the increasing severity of the situation in Iran, we decided to temporarily shut down our borders."

Adding that they were coordinating with related ministries, Koca said: "Within the framework of the International Health Regulations, land and rail crossings from Iran to Turkey are suspended as of 5 p.m. today. All flights from Iran to Turkey are suspended as of 8 p.m. Flights from Turkey to Iran continue."

"If a case is identified, we know what to do"

Noting that they had taken measures very early on to prevent the virus's entry into Turkey, Koca said:

"Our healthcare system is strong enough to handle epidemics like this one. If a case is identified, we know exactly what to do. We have sufficient stock of antivirals and medical supplies. At this point, there is nothing to worry about."

Updated: 06/03/2020