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April 18, 2020 2:29 pm

Turkey’s Coronavirus Cases Overtake Iran, Highest in Middle East

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

A worker in a protective suit sprays disinfectant at Grand Bazaar, known as the Covered Bazaar, to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Istanbul, Turkey, March 25, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Umit Bektas.

Turkey’s confirmed coronavirus cases have risen to 82,329, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Saturday, overtaking neighboring Iran for the first time to register the highest total in the Middle East.

An increase of 3,783 cases in the last 24 hours also pushed Turkey’s confirmed tally within a few hundred of China, where the novel coronavirus first emerged.

Koca said 121 more people have died, taking the death toll to 1,890. A total of 10,453 people have recovered from coronavirus so far, and the number of tests carried out over the past 24 hours came to 40,520, the minister said.

The Interior Ministry also said it was extending restrictions on travel between 31 cities for a further 15 days starting at midnight on Saturday.

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