ISTANBUL, ORDU, Turkey  

Nearly 700 Turkish nationals were repatriated Saturday from the US and Kyrgyzstan as part of an initiative by Ankara over the coronavirus pandemic.

An exclusive Turkish Airlines flight with 354 Turks from the US landed in the Black Sea province of Ordu.

Separately, 330 Turks were evacuated from Kyrgyzstan and landed in Istanbul.

After routine health checks, passengers were quarantined at dormitories in Antalya, Ordu, Giresun and Bolu provinces.

To date, Turkey has repatriated nearly 70,000 nationals from 107 nations, under instructions by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and in coordination with the Foreign Ministry.

Ankara reported Saturday 148,067 coronavirus cases, 108,137 of which have fully recovered. The death toll stands at 4,096.

More than 4.59 million cases have been reported in 188 countries since the virus emerged in China last December, with the hardest-hit areas being the US and Europe.

A significant portion of COVID-19 patients, more than 1.66 million, have recovered, but the disease has claimed more than 309,600 lives, according to data compiled by the US-based Johns Hopkins University.

* Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur in Ankara.

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