Israel may halt flights to Turkey over COVID-19 spike — report

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered his National Security Council to look into the possibility of halting flights to Turkey, effective immediately, given the rise in coronavirus infections there, Army Radio reports.

On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the most stringent lockdown measures yet to battle a spike in infections.

Turkish Health Ministry statistics on Monday showed 31,219 confirmed new infections and 188 new deaths. Daily fatalities in Turkey have hit record numbers for eight consecutive days, bringing the country’s acknowledged virus death toll to 13,746.

A Turkish Airlines flight seen at the airstrip at Ben Gurion International Airport. February 26, 2015. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)

While ties between Ankara and Jerusalem are frayed, business ties between the countries remain intact. Istanbul is also a major transit hub for Israeli travelers.

According to the report, the possibility of halting flights to other locations may be explored as well. The other destinations were not detailed and there was no confirmation of the report.

— with AP