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The Latest: Turkey has quarantined 4,600 arriving from UK

Police officers, wearing protective masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, backdropped by the Byzantine-era Hagia Sophia, patrol the histor...
People walk on the Halic Bridge over the golden Horn in Istanbul, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. Turkey has become one of the worst-hit countries in the world...

Police officers, wearing protective masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, backdropped by the Byzantine-era Hagia Sophia, patrol the histor...

People walk on the Halic Bridge over the golden Horn in Istanbul, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. Turkey has become one of the worst-hit countries in the world...

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey has identified and quarantined 4,603 airline passengers who arrived from the United Kingdom on and after Dec. 14, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said Tuesday.

Flights from the U.K., South Africa, Denmark and the Netherlands were suspended on Sunday evening in response to a new strain of coronavirus said to be circulating there.

Koca tweeted that 335 passengers flying from those countries at the time of Sunday’s announcement were tested for the virus on arrival in Turkey and isolated.

Many countries have restricted travel, primarily from Britain, after the new strain was described as spreading rapidly there.

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THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

Congress has easily passed a $900 billion pandemic relief package. It would deliver long-sought cash to businesses and individuals and resources to vaccinate a nation confronting a frightening surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths. The bill has been sent to President Donald Trump for his signature, expected in the coming days. The effort comes at the end of a year that's become the deadliest in U.S. history. Preliminary data on U.S. deaths show the coronavirus pandemic contributing to a 15% or more increase in deaths over last year. U.S. deaths topped 3 million for the first time, and the percentage increase was the largest in a single year since 1918.

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Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea will prohibit private social gatherings of five or more people and shut down ski resorts and major tourist spots nationwide starting on Christmas Eve as it contends with a surge in coronavirus infections.

The restrictions announced Tuesday extend to a national level similar rules set earlier by authorities in the Seoul metropolitan area. It is the most serious step the government has taken to reinstate social distancing after months of easing.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun says the measures will be in place at least until Jan. 3.

The Seoul area has been at the center of a viral resurgence that has overwhelmed hospitals and increased death tolls. The surge has put pressure on the government to raise social distancing restrictions to maximum levels, something policymakers have resisted for weeks out of economic concerns.

Visitors will also be prohibited at nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and churches and other religious facilities will be shut. Restaurants cannot seat groups of five or more people, must maintain social distancing between diners and could face fines for violations.

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OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee has announced new travel restrictions for people arriving from the United Kingdom and South Africa, where a seemingly more contagious strain of the coronavirus is circulating.

Inslee said Monday he will order travelers coming from either of those two nations to quarantine for 14 days. He says the order will cover passengers who have arrived from those countries in the past few days.

Inslee says the quarantine measures are precautionary and meant to stem a possible surge in cases that could overwhelm hospitals.

The quarantine is mandatory and although it is legally enforceable, Inslee says no one will be taken into custody over it.

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WASHINGTON — Two of the U.S. military’s top officers have received the coronavirus vaccine.

Army Gen. Mark Milley, who is chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Air Force Gen. John Hyten, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, got their shots Monday. They received the Pfizer vaccine.

Other members of the Joint Chiefs are also expected to get shots as part of a campaign to reassure those serving in the military branches that the vaccine is safe.

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Updated : 2021-01-28 05:02 GMT+08:00