Copy of 2020-03-10T092715Z_1861007939_RC2XGF9274XG_RTRMADP_3_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-TURKEY-1583911719127
A municipality worker wearing a protective suit sanitises a taxi in Karaagac district against the coronavirus disease near Turkey's Pazarkule border crossing with Greece's Kastanies, in Edirne, Turkey on March 10. Image Credit: REUTERS

Dubai: Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca confirmed that the first case of the coronavirus had been identified in the country as the epidemic grips neighbours including Iran, the hardest-hit nation after China and Italy.

“A male Turkish citizen has tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday evening,” Koca said at a televised news conference early Wednesday, adding that the person contracted the virus from Europe and that his family was also placed under monitoring.

Turkey has also cancelled vacations for all health personnel as a precaution, Koca said. The lira weakened against the dollar.

Turkey has a population of 83 million people and also hosts the world’s largest refugee population with around 5 million people, larglely Syrians who’ve fled the country’s civil war.

Turkey had stopped all passenger flights with Italy, South Korea and Iraq and has started screening passengers arriving from abroad.