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Maryland woman who contracted novel coronavirus visited Albania, not Turkey, embassy says

The Harford County woman who Maryland officials said contracted the novel coronavirus while traveling to Turkey only spent time in an airport there while traveling from Albania to Dulles International Airport, Turkish officials said Tuesday.

Border entry records show the 86-year-old did not visit Turkey, but flew from Tirana, Albania, to Dulles on March 3 with a brief stopover in Istanbul Airport, according to the Turkish Embassy in Washington. She spent her entire time in the country in the transit lounge of the airport, officials said.

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Gov. Larry Hogan said that the woman contracted the virus while traveling to Turkey during a Monday news conference, in which he addressed the fourth and fifth confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maryland.

At the time, Hogan said it appeared to be the first case of the virus “anywhere in the world to be associated with travel to Turkey.”

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Mike Ricci, a spokesman for the governor’s office, tweeted “With regards to the Harford County resident who traveled to Turkey, we stand by what we have said.”

Harford County health officials said the woman did not leave her house after she returned home from the trip until she started showing symptoms about six days later, when she went straight to the hospital, and that there was no danger to the community.

Harford County Health Officer Russell W. Moy declined to say where the woman was being treated.

Two other family members who drove the woman to the hospital are also in quarantine, Moy said. Neither was showing symptoms of the virus.

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