Turkey suspends Iran and Afghanistan flights due to virus concerns

Turkey resumed international passenger flights last month. Both Iran and Afghanistan are experiencing hardship containing the coronavirus.

al-monitor In this photograph taken on May 9, 2020, a relative assists a suspected COVID-19 patient (R) brought in an ambulance to the Afghan-Japan Communicable Disease Hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan.  Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images.

Jul 20, 2020

Turkey suspended flights to and from Iran and Afghanistan yesterday due to coronavirus-related concerns.

The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure said the decision constituted “preventative measures,” the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Turkey stopped nearly all international passenger flights in and out of the country in March amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In June, Turkey, which has a major international transit hub in Istanbul, announced the resumption of international flights.

Iran and Afghanistan are both in the midst of coronavirus outbreaks. Iran recorded its highest ever daily death toll this month with 200 deaths in a single day. Around 20% of the population has contracted the virus, according to some estimates.

In Afghanistan, the Afghan Red Crescent Society warned last week that cases are being underreported and the war-torn nation is on the verge of “potential health, social and economic catastrophes caused by COVID-19.”

Turkey is not the only country in the region to reopen its skies but then suspend some newly resumed flights. Emirates has suspended flights to New Zealand and from Pakistan in recent weeks due to quarantine restrictions and an outbreak on a flight, respectively.

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