More than 17,000 Turkish citizens are in quarantine as part of measures to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, an official said on Friday.

A total of 17,506 citizens are in isolation at dormitories across 76 provinces, said Youth and Sports Minister Mehmet Kasapoglu.

Some 51,747 citizens have so far been released from quarantine after completing the mandatory 14-day period, he added.

He went on to say Turkey repatriated its citizens from 89 countries and are quarantined at dormitories belonging to the Youth and Sports Ministry.

“We are proud to host not only our citizens coming from abroad, but also our heroic army’s personnel, and nearly 7,000 healthcare workers who have performed an admirable work in combating the pandemic,” he added.

The minister also noted that books, toys and sports equipment are distributed to those quarantined at dormitories to prevent any possible psychological effects.

As of Thursday, Turkey reported a total of 133,721 coronavirus cases, 82,984 of which have fully recovered. The death toll stands at 3,641.

After originating in China last December, COVID-19 has spread to at least 187 countries and regions. Europe and the US are currently the worst-hit regions.

The pandemic has killed around 269,600 worldwide, with total infections over 3.84 million, while more than 1.28 million patients have recovered, according to figures compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

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