KRG repatriates 201 students, citizens from Turkey amid COVID-19 crisis
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Department of Foreign Relations (DFR) announced on Wednesday the repatriation of 201stranded students from the Turkish cities of Istanbul and Ankara to the Kurdistan Region.
The DFR’s repatriation missions have begun amid the suspension of air traffic due to COVID-19, which resulted in students, medical tourists, and citizens being stranded abroad.
In twin flights from Ankara and Istanbul to Erbil’s International airport (EIA), “another group of Kurdistani students [and] citizens stranded abroad, now safely returned,” Safeen Dizayee, the head of DFR, wrote on Twitter.
Welcome home to another group of Kurdistani students & citizens stranded abroad, now safely returned from Turkey; A flight from #Ankara repatriated 70 & one from #Istanbul 131 in the wake of COVID-19, arriving at EIA. They’ll follow KRG health guidelines. Thanks to all involved! pic.twitter.com/QBNcrimzn9— Safeen Dizayee (@SafeenDizayee) May 6, 2020
The flights repatriated two groups of Kurdistan Region students and citizens, one from Ankara, consisting of 70, and another one from Istanbul bringing home 131 returnees, according to Dizayee’s tweet.
“They’ll follow KRG health guidelines,” Dizayee said, referring to the KRG’s mandatory 14-day quarantine for returnees from abroad to safeguard the public health from any COVID-19 transmission.
The Civil Aviation Agency’s decision to suspend flights was made on March 17 and was planned to last for a week as the government began to take preventive measures to counter the spread of the coronavirus. However, it was extended several times afterward. The latest extension by the agency is expected to end on May 22.
According to the latest figures from the KRG’s health ministry, there have been 391 confirmed cases since the coronavirus outbreak in the Kurdistan Region, including 350 recoveries, and five deaths.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany