Singapore sends Turkish Airlines flight home empty over coronavirus


Singapore authorities have sent a Turkish Airlines aircraft back to Istanbul with no passenger on board over the global pandemic, coronavirus (Covid-19).

The aircraft was flown back on Thursday after authorities fumed at its immediate use following the case of a passenger who had arrived on the same plane on Tuesday and tested positive for coronavirus.

Turkish Health Minister, Fahrettin Koca, said the infected passenger was a French national travelling from London to Singapore, and that the plane’s crew should be quarantined for 14 days as a precaution.

“The passenger diagnosed with coronavirus in Singapore is a French citizen. The person was a transit passenger going from London to Singapore. Our plane returned without passengers. The crew will be protectively held in quarantine for 14 days,” Mr Koca said on Twitter.

Reuters learnt from a Turkish aviation official that there were 143 passengers, three pilots and 10 crew members aboard the flight to Singapore.

Nigeria’s first coronavirus case was recorded after an Italian arrived Lagos on February 26 aboard a Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul.

Singapore’s CAAS aviation regulator said the pilots and crew of flight TK54 that arrived on Tuesday had come into close contact with the passenger, but the aviation official said the crew tested negative for the virus in Singapore.

In a statement on its website, Singapore’s transport ministry said authorities had begun tracing passengers on flight TK54 that may have had contact with the infected person.