Iran flight carries suspected coronavirus cases

AA Photo

A plane from Iran has diverted from Istanbul, its destination, to land in Ankara, Turkey's capital, due to the presence of 17 people possibly infected with coronavirus on board.

The Turkish Airlines flight from Tehran, with 132 passengers on board, landed at Ankara's Esenboğa Airport Tuesday at 10.29 a.m. (0729GMT), said correspondents on the ground.

Passengers from the flight have been taken in for preliminary health exams by the Ankara Health Directorate and Health Ministry officials.

The 17 passengers are being treated as possible cases as they have higher-than-normal temperatures.

Turkey to date has no reported cases of coronavirus.

Earlier Turkish Airlines reduced the number of daily trips to Tehran to two, and restricted return flights to Turkish passengers only.

Turkey has also closed its land borders and railway service with Iran.

In China, the epicenter of the virus, the death toll from the outbreak reached 2,663 Tuesday, with nearly 76,700 confirmed cases.

The coronavirus has spread to more than 25 other countries including the U.S., the U.K., Singapore, France, Russia, Spain and India.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak an international health emergency.

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