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Turkey repatriates it's citizens in Somalia amid COVID-19

Sunday April 26, 2020

A  Turkish Airline flight in Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu is awaiting passengers before departing for Istanbul. / Photo via Turkey in Somalia

Mogadishu (HOL) - The Turkish Embassy in Somalia has announced that it has begun repatriating it's citizens in the country as a precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to a statement released on Saturday.

"Due to the precautions taken by our President to prevent the Covid-19 epidemic, our citizens, who were in Somalia, temporarily moved from Mogadishu to Turkey, in line with the instructions of bringing our citizens abroad to Turkey."

The repatriation is consistent with the Turkish government's recent decision to bring back its nationals from abroad amid the pandemic.

Turkey brought back 777 of its citizens who travelled on flights from the U.S., Morocco, Algeria, and Italy early Saturday morning.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Saturday on Twitter that close to 60,000 citizen's have been brought back thus far with other flights arranged for another 20,000 people.

The decision comes as Somalia's health ministry announced 62 more confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of infected cases in the country to 390.

Fawziya Abikar, the health minister, said that two people have died in the past 24 hours, bringing the national death tally to 18. Conversely, the minister added that two people have recovered, bringing the number of total recoveries to 10.

Health officials in Somalia are uneasy about the uptick in confirmed cases in Somalia as they struggle in their limited capacity to control the spread of the deadly virus. In Somalia, there is only one hospital - Martini Hospital in the nation's capital - that is designated to treat the ballooning number of coronavirus.

Turkish citizens in Mogadishu waiting to board a flight back to Turkey. / Photo via Turkey in Somalia

The repatriated citizens will be arriving in a country that health officials believe is beginning to plateau despite remaining one of the epicentres of the virus.

A total of 107,773 people have been infected with COVID-19 in Turkey with 2,706 people succumbing to the virus. So far, 25,582 people have recovered from the infection with close to 1800 in intensive care. On Saturday, Turkey announced that since the virus was first reported back in early March, recoveries had surpassed new cases for the first time.

In a bid to stop the spread of the virus during the Holy month of Ramadan, Turkey has imposed a four-day lockdown in 31 provinces.


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