Turkey’s metropolitan city of Istanbul has stood out and set an example for the world in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
While the outbreak began late last year in China, Turkey confirmed its first COVID-19 case on March 11.
Istanbul, Turkey's largest city, hosts the majority of the patients in the country. It has gained global attention with its intensive care unit and bed capacity, well-equipped hospitals and experienced healthcare workers.
Dr. Kemal Memisoglu, provincial health director of Istanbul, said the pandemic was a test of countries’ healthcare systems.
“We are successfully passing this test [...] the entire world is envyingly watching Turkey's success,” Memisoglu told Anadolu Agency, underlining the country’s efforts to establish an accessible healthcare system with improved physical infrastructure.
As the pandemic proved the strength of the healthcare system, our self-confidence increased, he said. "Turkey has a bright future in healthcare."
Regarding two new hospitals with a capacity of 1,000 beds each in Istanbul, he said they will be built in 45 days.
These hospitals, the health director said, prove that Turkey attaches great importance to its healthcare infrastructure and the health of its citizens.
Highlighting that some of the hospitals will be normalized after June 1, he said people should continue with social distancing and isolation.
Memisoglu warned people not to be carefree since the outbreak had not yet ended.
Referring to filiation teams, who screen the chain of contact in the infectious disease, he said there were 1,200 teams in Istanbul.
“Even the US, which is now considered the most technologically advanced country in the world, is trying to learn how to do it from us. It makes us proud,” he said, underlining that all services, including medicines, are free of charge during the pandemic.
As part of Ankara's normalization plan amid a fall in virus-linked deaths and rise in recoveries, some businesses, including barber shops and hairdressers, would open from May 11.
*Writing by Gozde Bayar in AnkaraAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.