February 25, 2020 / 11:31 AM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 3-Turkey says 140 on flight from Iran have no sign of coronavirus infection

(Updates with health minister comment)

By Tuvan Gumrukcu and Ceyda Caglayan

ANKARA/ISTANBUL, Feb 25 (Reuters) - None of the Turkish passengers and crew on a flight from Tehran that landed after being diverted to Ankara showed evidence of coronavirus infection, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Tuesday.

All 140 people on the Turkish Airlines plane from Tehran will be quarantined for 14 days, Koca said.

“Initial medical examinations have been completed for all passengers and crew. None of the 140 people from the Tehran flight showed any sign of disease,” he told reporters.

The flight was carrying Turkish nationals home after Ankara closed its border with Iran this weekend following a coronavirus outbreak there, Koca said.

The plane, which included passengers who have travelled recently to Iran’s Qom region, was diverted from Istanbul to Ankara as medical personnel there are more experienced in handling possible infection, Koca also said.

On Tuesday, the coronavirus death toll in Iran rose to 16.

Turkey’s Demiroren news agency broadcast footage showing ambulances lined up beside the plane after landing in Ankara, with several personnel wearing white protective suits.

Turkish Airlines said on Tuesday it had extended a cancellation of flights to Iranian cities except Tehran until March 10. A Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul to Tehran on Tuesday was cancelled, according to its website.

Turkish Airlines shares closed down 2.74% while the main index was down 0.37%. (Additioanl reporting by Ece Toksabay in Ankara; Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Jonathan Spicer, Nick Macfie and Giles Elgood)

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