Turkey, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Turkey: Death toll from coronavirus rises to 725

Country registers 3,892 new COVID-19 cases in past 24 hours, bringing total number to 34,109

Burak Bir,Fahri Aksüt   | 07.04.2020
Turkey: Death toll from coronavirus rises to 725

ANKARA

Turkey confirmed Tuesday that 76 more people died from the coronavirus in the country over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 725.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases surged to 34,109 as 3,892 more people tested positive for the virus, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told a news conference in the capital Ankara following the meeting of Coronavirus Science Board.

So far, a total of 1,582 patients have recovered and been discharged from hospitals, Koca said, stressing the rise in the recovery rate.

He also said 20,023 tests were conducted on Tuesday, with the overall number of tests conducted so far hitting 222,868.

Turkey is currently treating 1,474 patients in intensive care units, Koca said, and added that the occupancy rate of these units stands at 62-63% amid coronavirus outbreak.

The cases have concentrated in the capital Ankara and metropolis Istanbul, as well as Izmir on the Aegean coast, the Black Sea province of Zonguldak, and northwestern Kocaeli and Sakarya provinces, the official said.

Reiterating the importance of observing isolation, Koca stressed each city has to abide by the rules, and people must adopt them as a lifestyle.

"Mask is mandatory in workplaces and public areas. Inspections will be made occasionally," he added.

Koca underscored that the selling of masks is forbidden, including in pharmacies.


New application developed

Turkey also established Social Sciences Board to investigate and reduce sociological and psychological effects of the pandemic on society, he announced.

"We will follow the people who need to be isolated at home via digital means. We have also completed the preparations of a system that will let us warn the individuals immediately when necessary," he added.

He went on to say that the developed application will follow-up on the coronavirus cases. It will be able to monitor the isolation of cases, their follow-up at home, their mobility, and whether they are going out or not.

The new coronavirus also claims the lives of young people, Koca said, adding that age should not be perceived as an escape from the deadly virus.

"We achieved a decline in the rate of lung infection in our patients, and we think that starting early medication played a major role in this," he said.

Pointing out the misinformation on the high rate of death among age below 60, Koca said that the share of patients with underlying health problems under 60 is 10%.


Virus isolated

He said that Turkish professors, Aykut Ozdarendeli from Erciyes University and Aykut Ozkul from Ankara University, managed to isolate the virus.

Responding to the question on the medical conditions of the board members, Koca said that all of the members are in good health, including the one who had tested positive.

"We have positive observations while following the process. We expect them to gain stability and trend […] We are one of the countries with the strongest health infrastructure in the world,” Koca said, adding that Turkey has at least two times more ventilators than the European countries compared to the population.

He also mentioned that the ministry started a new appointment process for healthcare workers that is expected to be completed in the next few days.

After originating in China last December, COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has spread to at least 184 countries and regions across the world, with its epicenter shifting to Europe.

The pandemic has killed more than 80,000 people, and infected 1.4 million, while nearly 298,000 people have recovered from the disease, according to figures collated by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

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