Turkiye, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Turkey's COVID-19 cases expected to drop in May: Expert

'In any case, we will get rid of this disease, question is how soon it will happen,' says infectious disease specialist

Kenan Irtak   | 09.04.2020
Turkey's COVID-19 cases expected to drop in May: Expert


The number of novel coronavirus cases is expected to drop in May in Turkey, a medical doctor told Anadolu Agency.

''I expect that COVID-19 will reach its peak by the end of April, and will start recession in May. The question is with how many patients we will reach the peak point," said Dr. Mesut Yilmaz, an expert at Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology department of Medipol University Hospital in Turkey's largest metropolitan city of Istanbul.

Yilmaz said the recession period of the pandemic in the country will be similar to the pre-peaking period in terms of the number of cases and deaths, adding that people need to take "utmost" measures to mitigate the transmission of the disease.

Disease to be defeated with or without vaccine

Turkey's vaccine development studies are yet at "infancy" stage, Yilmaz noted, adding that the country is among the most developed ones in the world in terms of drug treatment.

Yilmaz said he does not agree with the view that people will not get rid of COVID-19 unless the vaccine is available, adding that: "In any case, we will get rid of this disease, but the question is how soon will it happen. If a vaccine or effective treatment is found within a year, we will get rid of it much earlier."

The expert also stressed that all treatment options are offered free of charge in Turkey.

Many medical centers in the country now work for plasma treatment, he added.

"The necessary infrastructure for this type of treatment is available in many centers. But drug therapy and plasma treatments are effective to a certain extent, and we do not know the success rates yet," Yilmaz said.

Turkey 'not caught unprepared'

Turkey "was not caught unprepared" to the outbreak, when compared with Italy, Spain and France, Yilmaz said, noting that his country was able to plan the hospital and infrastructure preparations in advance.

He stressed that the only loose end for Turkey was the number of tests, adding that it has just recently reached the required level.

"Therefore, it was lagged behind to quickly identify the number of patients in the first two weeks and to take action.This picture was the same in all countries," he said.

The numbers of the infected and deceased from the virus in Turkey show similar rises as in other countries, the expert added.

"All steps taken are currently in place. Stopping international flights, suspending education, canceling events, restricting travel, curfew for people over 65 years old and below 20 are significant measures to prevent the spread of the infection.

"Among all, adaptation to social distancing is the most important step in preventing the transmission of this disease," he stressed.

Yılmaz concluded that as long as people continue to observe self-quarantine and social distancing, the spread of the disease can be limited, and the number of cases would rise otherwise.

Turkey has so far reported over 38,200 COVID-19 cases, and the death toll stands at 812.

Since the virus emerged last December in the Chinese city of Wuhan, it has spread to at least 184 countries and regions, infecting nearly 1.5 million people and killing nearly 90,000, according to the data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

* Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev in Ankara.

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