Turkey, Health, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Turkish institutions ‘take steps in coordination' amid COVID-19

‘We continue to work in service of our nation,’ says President Erdogan

Jeyhun Aliyev   | 24.03.2020
Turkish institutions ‘take steps in coordination' amid COVID-19

ANKARA

Turkish authorities and institutions continue taking steps in coordination to stem the spread of the coronavirus in the country, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday.

"We continue to work in the service of our nation. We closely follow the works of all our institutions and organizations, and continue taking our steps in coordination," Erdogan said on Twitter.

A video he posted along with the message showed Erdogan discussing the latest developments over the teleconference with top state officials. Erdogan said no gas or electricity shut down is expected in the country amid the outbreak.

"We had more difficult days but we did not do such a thing. No such step can be taken in the social [welfare] state," he said.

Erdogan stressed that those who "smuggle" products abroad through various channels and sell these products at "extortionate prices" in Turkey would be held accountable.

During his discussion with National Education Minister Ziya Selcuk, Erdogan said the broadcast school lessons -- scheduled for a week -- as part of distance learning measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, might be extended if the Health Ministry’s Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board advises to do so.

On Monday, Turkey launched digital education for millions of students so their learning will not be interrupted.

Erdogan went on to say that with the digital education approach, a new future-oriented education system is also being established in the country.

In the video conference, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told president that the use of public transportation has dropped by around 80% in 15 metropolitans across Turkey due to the country’s measures against the spread of the pandemic.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, for his part, said 50,000 quick coronavirus testing kits -- which allow comprehensive results in 60 minutes -- ordered from China will arrive in Turkey on Wednesday morning.

The novel coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China last December and has spread to at least 169 countries and territories.

According to the latest official figures, Turkey has 1,529 confirmed coronavirus cases and the death toll stands at 37.

The global death toll has surpassed 17,150, with 392,780 cases confirmed, according to U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

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