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13 Mar 2020 | 06:13 AM UTC

Turkey: Schools suspended due to COVID-19 as of March 16 /update 5

Government suspends schools as of March 16 due to COVID-19 pandemic; further restrictions possible in the near term



Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin announced on Thursday, March 12, that primary and secondary schools will be suspended for one week, while universities will also be shut for three weeks effective on Monday, March 16. He also added that sporting events will be maintained without spectators until end of April, though he did not announce a specific date, and public employees will only be able to leave the country with a special authorization.

Meanwhile, an ongoing entry ban for foreigners who have visited China, South Korea, Iran, Iraq, and Italy within the last 14 days remains in place as of Friday, March 13. All passenger flights to and from these countries have also been canceled. In addition, Turkey's border with Iran remains closed since Saturday, February 29.

As of March 13, Turkey has one confirmed COVID-19 case. As Further international spread of COVID-19 is expected over the coming days and weeks


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing.Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia. 


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.  
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.  
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.