KARS, Turkey

The Eastern Express, an overnight passenger train operated by the Turkish State Railways (TCDD), resumed its services on Monday after a suspension due to coronavirus restrictions in the country.

The eastbound train, which runs 1,310 kilometers (814 miles) between Ankara and Kars railway stations, departed from eastern Kars province on early Monday.

The Eastern Express attracts great attention from foreign tourists and university students, as well as travel and sightseeing enthusiasts as it covers one of the longest routes in the country and offers over 24 hours of train travel.

The train was sent off with a ceremony held at Kars railway station.

Kars Deputy Governor Mehmet Zahid Dogu and Provincial Culture and Tourism Director Hayrettin Cetin visited the train and talked with passengers.

“Everyone is looking forward to this train. I ask people to follow coronavirus measures despite the normalization process,” Dogu said.

Amid a nationwide fall in virus cases and an expedited vaccination drive, Turkey has entered a new normalization phase, lifting almost all virus-related restrictions.

However, seeking to limit the spread of the Delta variant of the virus, the country has suspended flights from Bangladesh, Brazil, South Africa, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, passengers from the UK, Iran, Egypt, and Singapore are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours prior to their flight.

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

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