January 22, 2020 / 9:31 AM / 25 days ago

Turkey takes steps against new coronavirus, no cases reported

ANKARA/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey has prepared thermal cameras and other precautions against the spread of the new flu-like coronavirus, but currently has no cases or at-risk patients, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Wednesday.

The death toll from the virus, which originated in China, has risen to nine with 440 confirmed cases, Chinese health officials said as authorities sought to control the outbreak and evidence showed it spread through “respiratory transmission”.

Turkey’s new Istanbul airport is a major international hub, handling more than 50 million passengers last year, and flag-carrier Turkish Airlines (THYAO.IS) operates daily flights to destinations in China including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

“We have preparations, including taking a risky patient from China to our quarantine room and taking them to the hospital via a specially designated ambulance,” Koca told the state-owned Anadolu news agency.

“The World Health Organization (WHO) did not recommend thermal cameras for Turkey, but we took all precautions anyway, including thermal cameras.”

The virus, originating in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei, has spread to China’s main cities as well as the United States, Thailand, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Ezgi Erkoyun

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