Severity: Warning Alert

Transportation: Turkey suspends air and land travel to and from Azerbaijan to stem the spread of COVID-19, March 14. Further travel restrictions likely.

This alert affects Turkey

This alert began 14 Mar 2020 19:04 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Entry and travel restrictions, health screenings, and associated disruptions

Summary
Turkish officials announced March 14 that they would temporarily suspend all air and land travel to and from Azerbaijan. The restriction does not include cargo shipments. The measure is intended to stem the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Turkey had previously announced March 13 that it would suspend all flights to and from Germany, France, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, and the Netherlands from March 14 to April 17.

Authorities announced March 12 that schools and universities nationwide would close for at least 21 days from March 16. Public gatherings, including sporting events, are likely to be prohibited; sports matches will reportedly proceed, though fans will not be permitted to attend.

Related travel restrictions are also in effect. Authorities have banned all passenger flights to and from China, Italy, Iran, Iraq, and South Korea, with the exception of flights carrying Iranian citizens to their home country. In addition, foreign citizens who have visited the above countries within the last 14 days are not permitted to enter Turkey, including for transit purposes; those with a residency permit will be permitted to enter Turkey but will be tested on arrival, which could result in quarantine or other mobility restrictions.

Other restrictions, including the closure of Turkey's land borders with Iran and Iraq, and the Dilucu border crossing with the Azerbaijani territory of Naxcivan, remain in place until further notice. All travelers are reportedly thermally screened on arrival at Turkey's air and seaports and at some land crossings; those displaying symptoms compatible with COVID-19 are requested to undergo medical testing and may be subjected to 14 days of quarantine.

The closure of educational facilities could prompt greater employee absenteeism as parents are required to remain at home to provide childcare. Additional screening processes at international entry points could prompt delays on arrival. Additional air, maritime, and ground travel restrictions and screening measures are possible at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The travel restrictions come amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, which originated in China's Wuhan City in Hubei Province. The purpose of the travel restrictions is to prevent the spread of the disease. As of March 14, Turkish authorities have confirmed two cases of COVID-19 in the country.

Advice
Individuals affected by the restrictions should postpone planned travel. Follow all official immigration and health screening instructions. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
Turkish Civil Aviation Administration (Twitter): twitter.com/SHGM