The Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday refuted claims that an elderly women in the United States who tested positive for the coronavirus had traveled to Turkey.
“Contrary to initial statements made by Maryland officials, Turkish border entry records have revealed that the individual in question did not visit Turkey, but flew from Tirana, Albania, to Dulles International Airport, on March 3rd, via brief stopover in Istanbul Airport, where she spent her entire time in the transit lounge,” the statement posted on Twitter in response to a statement by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.
Hogan announced that a US national in her 80s who arrived in Maryland from Turkey has tested positive for coronavirus.
“She is a Harford County resident who contracted the virus while travelling to Turkey. This appears to be the first case of COVID-19 anywhere in the world to be associated with travel to Turkey,” the governor told a news conference on Monday.
“The Maryland Department of Health is still investigating. So more details may become available,” Harford County Executive Barry Glassman told another press conference.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has repeatedly said Turkey has no cases of coronavirus after taking measures at its borders. But coronavirus has been found in half of the eight countries neighboring Turkey — Iran, Greece, Iraq and Georgia.
The global coronavirus death toll has exceeded 3,300, with more than 110,000 confirmed cases in 87 countries, according to the World Health Organization.