Turkey, World, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Turkey increasing support for citizens against COVID-19

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu speaks about recent precautions against coronavirus outbreak in TV interview

Muhammed Boztepe, Baris Kilic   | 01.04.2020
Turkey increasing support for citizens against COVID-19

ANKARA

Turkey began taking precautions against the novel coronavirus even before the outbreak and is taking new measures with each passing day, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said late Tuesday.  

Speaking on the Ulke TV channel, Soylu said that since the very first days of the outbreak, Turkey started building border hospitals and set up thermal cameras at all its airports.

Despite the virus, Turkish security forces are working around the clock, and the country's fight against terrorism continues.

"With the help of our imams, police officers, gendarmerie, teachers and all sorts of civil servants, we visited the homes of 725,000 elderly people and met whatever needs they had," he added.

Soylu also said that false information on social media will not go unpunished.

"We have detected 2,863 social media accounts spreading false information about the COVID-19 outbreak in our country. Some of these are also related to the FETO and DHKP-C terrorist organizations.

"Intercity travel in Turkey is down by 98.9%, which shows our precautions have worked. We have also quarantined 50 towns and villages in 21 cities [across the country]. We are trying to take extreme measures before it's too late."

He added that operations have been carried out against 243 firms that overcharged for masks and protective clothing and there will be no tolerance.

Soylu also called on the Turkish people to stay home.

The death toll in Turkey from the coronavirus has risen to 214, while the number of confirmed cases has surged to 13,531, the Health Ministry announced Tuesday.

After first appearing in Wuhan, China last December, the virus has spread to at least 179 countries and regions, according to U.S-based Johns Hopkins University.

Its data shows the confirmed number of cases worldwide have surpassed 855,000, with the death toll over 42,000 and more than 177,000 recoveries.

*Writing by Firdevs Bulut

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