By Abidin Mutlu Bozdag

ISTANBUL

Turkey began testing passengers arriving from the UK early Monday for a new variant of the coronavirus after health officials in Britain confirmed it was rapidly spreading in the country.

All passengers’ contact details were taken and they are required to self-isolate.

Turkey joined other European countries late Sunday in banning flights from the UK and other countries due to concerns over the new fast-moving coronavirus strain.

In a statement on Twitter, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said that as part of the measures, all passengers who are on flights that are still en route will be tested and quarantine rules will be applied when they arrive.

“Measures are carried out in full coordination,” Koca added.

The move came as several European countries including France, Germany, Italy and Austria announced a suspension of flights from the UK amid news of the strain.

The World Health Organization also asked European countries to redouble their health measures amid the new variant.

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