Turkey Finds 15 People Carrying New UK CCP Virus Variant

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
January 2, 2021Europeshare
Turkey Finds 15 People Carrying New UK CCP Virus Variant
A Turkish official checks body temperatures of passengers at Antalya International airport in Antalya, a popular holiday resort in southern Turkey, on June 19, 2020. (Ozan Kose/AFP via Getty Images)

ISTANBUL—Turkey’s health minister says the country has identified 15 people who carry a highly contagious coronavirus variant that was discovered in the United Kingdom.

In a statement Friday, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said the strain was found in travelers arriving from the UK. He said they were in quarantine, along with people they had been in contact with. He said the strain was not identified in passengers from elsewhere.

Turkey suspended flights with the UK along with other countries in late December upon discovery of the new strain’s spread and quarantined at least 4,603 passengers. Turkey also began to require a negative PCR test result for all international arrivals last week.

Turkey has among the worst infection rates in the world but official statistics show the seven-day average of daily infections has dropped to around 15,000 from above 30,000 since evening curfews and weekend lockdowns were instituted in early December.

The official death toll is 21,093, according to ministry statistics, but critics have accused the government of deliberately downplaying the extent of the county’s outbreak.

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