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Turkey stops flights from six countries due to virus variants

Turkey is in the process of opening up amid lower COVID-19 cases and vaccine progress.
A Nordwind Airlines check-in desk stands at Novosibirsk Tolmachevo Airport, on June 22, 2021. Russia resumed flights with Turkey, suspended in April 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Turkey halted flights from several countries on Monday due to concerns about variants of COVID-19.

The Turkish Ministry of the Interior stopped all flights from Bangladesh, Brazil, South Africa, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka due to new variants of the coronavirus, Turkey’s public broadcaster TRT World reported.

Anyone entering Turkey from a different country but who has been in the six banned countries within the past two weeks will need to provide a negative virus test and quarantine for two weeks. Anyone coming from Afghanistan or Pakistan will need to quarantine for 10 days. People coming from the United Kingdom, Iran, Egypt and Singapore will need to present a negative test, according to the outlet.

Infections of the delta variant of COVID-19 are increasing in some parts of the world, leading to panic and governments reinstating anti-virus measures.

The World Health Organization considers the delta variant to be more easily transmissible than the original strain of the coronavirus, but the international health body has yet to determine if the variant is more dangerous. The WHO has reached similar conclusions about other variants as well, according to its COVID-19 update last week.

Turkey is in the process of opening up after weeks of lockdowns due to greatly decreased daily virus infections. Last week, flights from Russia bringing tourists resumed. At present, there are around 5,000 new cases a day in Turkey, which is down from more than 60,000 a day in mid-April. Turkey is also making significant progress with its vaccine campaign. More than 38% of people in Turkey have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Our World in Data.