Greece severs contact with Turkey, suspends UK flights

Presidential Guards in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, after the Greek government imposed a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), in Athens. (Reuters)
Short Url
Updated 23 March 2020

Greece severs contact with Turkey, suspends UK flights

  • Flights from Britain and all travel from Turkey, except that by Greek nationals, residents and goods, are suspended to April 15
  • There are 17 recorded deaths and 624 officially announced infections from the coronavirus in Greece, which has a population of 11 million

ATHENS: Greece has suspended flights from Britain and nearly all incoming travel from Turkey, an official said Monday as the official coronavirus death toll rose to 17.
Flights from Britain and all travel from Turkey, except that by Greek nationals, residents and goods, are suspended to April 15, acting government spokeswoman Aristotelia Peloni told reporters.
The announcement came hours after Greek authorities began enforcing a nationwide lockdown, limiting people to their homes except for essential outings.
Greece has already suspended flights from Italy, Spain and non-EU countries.
Special flights have brought back over 1,000 Greeks, the foreign ministry said Sunday.
Those returning, mainly from other European countries, are going into compulsory 14-day quarantine.
There are 17 recorded deaths and 624 officially announced infections from the coronavirus in Greece, which has a population of 11 million.
The tough new measures mirror similar restrictions rolled out in other European nations, including hard-hit Italy, Spain and France.
Since reporting its first death from the virus on March 12, Greece has gradually rolled out measures to limit gatherings and non-essential travel along with closing schools, shops and entertainment venues.


Norway urges Israel not to annex parts of the West Bank

Updated 48 min 31 sec ago

Norway urges Israel not to annex parts of the West Bank

  • "Any unilateral step would be detrimental to the (peace) process," Norway's FM said

OSLO: Norway, which chairs a group of international donors to the Palestinians, urged Israel on Tuesday not to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
Norway heads the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), which met on Tuesday to discuss Israel’s plan to extend its sovereignty to Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley in the West Bank, occupied territory that Palestinians seek for a state.
“Any unilateral step would be detrimental to the (peace) process, and annexation would be in direct violation and contravention of international law,” Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide told Reuters after the meeting.
Norway helped to broker the 1993 and 1995 Oslo Accords, which provided for interim and limited Palestinian self-rule in the occupied territories, and initiated a now-moribund long-term peace process.
Soereide said she had spoken on Tuesday with her Israeli counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi, to urge Israel to resume direct talks with the Palestinians and avoid unilateral moves.
“It would undermine the potential for a two-state solution,” she said.
The AHLC meeting also urged donors to fulfil their financial commitments to the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations’ Palestinian aid agency to help fight the spread of the new coronavirus.
West Bank health authorities reported 388 cases of coronavirus with two deaths as of Monday, while in Gaza, 61 cases and one death were registered.
Soereide praised cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians on the issue, as well as between the Palestinians and the United Nations, but cautioned that a lack of testing meant the numbers could be higher.