Severity: Warning Alert

Transportation: Turkish authorities introduce further restrictions to combat coronavirus disease spread March 12.

This alert affects Turkey

This alert began 13 Mar 2020 15:23 GMT and is scheduled to expire 03 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

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

Summary
Authorities in Turkey announced March 12 that schools and universities nationwide will close for at least 21 days from March 16 as part of the country's response to the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 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 13, 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