Turkey could be the next popular vacation destination to be put on the UK's quarantine list as the country has the highest number of coronavirus cases since June.
The country recorded a total of 1,256 new cases in the past 24 hours, sparking fears that the Airlift to Britain could be dropped and Brits banned from vacationing in Turkey without strict quarantine measures.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter that the number of seriously ill patients, mainly with underlying diseases, had also increased to 668 people.
People wearing face masks shopping in Eminonu Bazaar in Istanbul amid a Covid pandemic
Turkey had a total of 1,256 new cases in the last 24 hours, sparking fears that the UK Airlift could be dropped and those returning from vacation quarantined for 14 days
The ministry said 21 people had died of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the confirmed death toll to 5,955.
Since March, more than 248,000 people have tested positive for the virus in Turkey.
However, experts say all confirmed officials are under counted due to limited testing, missed mild cases, possible government tampering, and other factors.
Wearing masks in public is mandatory in much of Turkey, but the country has lifted many of the previous restrictions to contain the spread of the virus.
Currently, Turkey has a total of 248,117 coronavirus cases and 5,955 deaths, placing it sixth in Asia and fifth in Europe.
Doctors have warned that the virus has hit health workers as it gained prominence over the summer before the school was scheduled to reopen next month.
In the past month, just under 1,000 new cases had occurred for three weeks. They were last this high on June 30th.
Turkey largely lifted a partial lockdown on June 1 and recently fined those who do not wear masks and social distancing in public.
Authorities had allowed restaurants, cafes, parks and beaches to reopen, as well as lifting the ban on cross-country travel, as the country eased restrictions it had imposed to contain the spread of the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19 disease.
The Turkish Medics Association said in a report on Friday that based on their analysis of government antibody tests, there are likely 10 times more active coronavirus patients than suggested in the official list based on virus tests.
27 doctors and 53 healthcare workers have died from the virus in the past five months.
"The cautious approach expected by individuals has not been demonstrated by the central authority," it said.
Earlier this month, Koca denied claims that some hospitals and cities were busy due to COVID-19.
The news has raised fears that the British could return to the UK if the government added Turkey to the list of countries that would require a 14-day quarantine on their return.
Turkish authorities had allowed restaurants, cafes, parks and beaches to reopen and the ban on overland travel to be lifted, but they have taken strict arrival measures at the airport
Many vacationers have been frustrated after missing the government's deadline to return from France after the country was briefly added to the list.
The news sparked a mess across the canal as Eurostar services from Paris to St Pancras appeared quieter than Friday and thousands of passengers snapped up tickets at elevated prices to get home before 4am on Saturday, to avoid a fortnight of self-isolation.
Turkey has its own strict measures for people arriving there, including temperature controls at the airport.
Anyone found to have the coronavirus must be quarantined, sometimes at their own expense.
The government has announced that countries with more than 20 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants will be placed on the quarantine list.
There are currently 18.5 infections per 100,000 people in Turkey, The Sun reports, up from 15.8 last month.
Airlifts between Great Britain and Australia, Croatia, Finland, Hungary and the Isle of Mann and 65 other countries remain intact.
Greece is also on the verge of becoming the next country to be added to the UK's two-week quarantine list after an alarming spike in coronavirus cases.
Hundreds of thousands of British tourists are faced with plans after EU figures showed Greece's infection rate quadrupled in two weeks.
It has exceeded the benchmark of 20 Covid cases per 100,000 people – the point at which Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps said the introduction of quarantine measures was triggered.
It came as 160,000 vacationers from France, Malta and the Netherlands came home before new quarantine rules went into effect at 4 a.m. yesterday.
Friends returning from France at St. Pancras train station in London said they needed to isolate despite all tests negative for coronavirus over the past week.
Sanne Williams, who works in a nursing home, said she was facing a week's wage loss.
She said it was too expensive to change her ticket to Friday, adding, “I'm obviously upset. I was supposed to go back to work on the 21st, but now I'm home for a week with no money.
"Of course I'll be quarantined, they have all of my details, passport and travel times."
EU figures showed that the Greek infection rate had quadrupled in two weeks and exceeded the benchmark of 20 Covid cases per 100,000 people
Tens of thousands of British tourists in France made last-minute bids to break the quarantine on Friday. Tickets for planes, trains, and ferries were offered at higher prices, with some airfares being around six times more expensive than usual.
Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, the train that carries vehicles through the Channel Tunnel, said it carried almost 30% more vehicles from France to the UK on Friday than forecast.
22 additional departures were planned, carrying more than 30,000 passengers in 11,600 vehicles.
The rush to get home was prompted by the decision to impose a 14-day self-isolation quarantine on travelers from France due to the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country.
The quarantine conditions also apply to travelers returning to or visiting the UK from the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks & Caicos and Aruba.