Turkey has begun repatriating its citizens working in Kuwait as laborers amid the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s deputy foreign minister said on Thursday.

In a Twitter post, Yavuz Selim Kiran said a Turkish Airlines plane conducting the evacuation had left Kuwait.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey had brought more than 20,000 citizens from 50 countries as part of measures against the virus.

Some 10,000 others would soon be repatriated, he added.

In Turkey, the virus that originated in China last year, has infected 15,679 people, and caused 277 deaths, as of Thursday evening.

It has reached 180

Read more: COVID-19: Turkey brings its expats back from Kuwait