Turkey quarantines pilgrims returning from Umrah

Alaturka Amerika ABD Haberleri

By Engin Ozekinci

KONYA, Turkey (AA) – Hundreds of Muslims returning to Turkey from the Umrah pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia were being housed in student dormitories Sunday as part of quarantine measures against the novel coronavirus.

A total of 362 passengers went through health checks after arriving at Konya Airport.

They were later bused to dormitories located on the campus of Selcuk University in Konya province for a 14-day quarantine.

On Feb. 27, Saudi Arabia suspended the entry of pilgrims seeking to perform Umrah due to the disease.

Umrah is a voluntary minor pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina that Muslims can perform at any time of the year.

On Sunday, Turkey announced the country's death toll from the coronavirus had risen by 73 to 574 while confirmed cases surged to over 27,000.

After originating in Wuhan, China last December, the novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to at least 183 countries and regions across the world, with its epicenter shifting to Europe.

The pandemic has killed more than 69,000 people worldwide and infected over 1.2 million, with over 259,000 people recovering from the disease, according to figures from U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

*Writing by Burak Dag in Ankara