Turkey to air remote school lessons amid COVID-19 fears

Primary, secondary and high schools in Turkey will be closed for two weeks, with remote education to begin in the second week as part of several precautions against the novel coronavirus, the country's education minister said on Thursday.

The announcement came after a five-hour meeting at the presidential complex amid the global coronavirus outbreak. Following the meeting, Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin declared various precautionary measures including school closures for the coming weeks.

National Education Minister Ziya Selcuk said the closures would begin on March 16, with remote education to begin as of March 23.

"With the remote education system presented free of charge by the National Education Ministry, Turkey is ready to become a model country with television and Internet curriculum, prepared for the first time in the world on a national scale," Selcuk told reporters.

He also noted that all cellphone operators would provide three gigabytes of free Internet data for students to use in the ministry's online service.

Turkey on early Wednesday confirmed its first case of the coronavirus, with the health minister urging citizens to avoid international travel unless absolutely necessary.

The coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China last December and has spread to at least 114 countries.

The global death toll is now over 4,600, with more than 124,500 confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which has declared the outbreak "a pandemic."

Source: Anadolu Agency