ISTANBUL: More than 1,000 Algerian passengers are stranded at Istanbul airport, its operator said Tuesday, as Ankara urged Algiers to allow flights to return the individuals stuck after the novel coronavirus outbreak.
They have been unable to return because Algiers will not let them back into the country, according to IGA Airport Operations.
“We, as IGA, Turkish Red Crescent, Turkish Airlines and Havas (bus company) have been trying to satisfy the humanitarian needs and requirements of over 1,000 Algerian visitors for several days now,” the operator said in a statement on Twitter.
“The Turkish government has been making efforts for a week now to persuade the Algerian government to grant landing rights for the affected flights.”
The North African country by Monday had confirmed 201 COVID-19 infections and 17 deaths.
Separately, in neighboring Tunisia, police arrested more than 400 people for breaking a night-time curfew imposed to fight the spread of coronavirus, the authorities said.
Around 30 of the 408 transgressors who were arrested remained in custody, while the others were released after a warning, Interior Minister Hichem Mechichi told reporters.
“Anyone who breaks the security rules will be treated as a criminal because failing to respect rules within the context of the pandemic is a crime,” he said.
A total of 412 cafes, bars and restaurants were forced by the security forces to close.
Alongside a curfew that entered into force on March 18, daytime restrictions took effect on Sunday, limiting movements to those of “extreme necessity,” including for work in key sectors.
Tunisia’s presidency has announced increased military deployments to enforce the restrictions.