Turkey records 1,812 new COVID-19 patients
Turkey has recorded 73 deaths and 1,812 new coronavirus patients over the past day, the Health Ministry announced Friday evening, which is a new peak after May 8.
According to Health Ministry data, more than 117,000 coronavirus tests have been carried out across the country in the past 24 hours.
With Friday’s numbers, Turkey’s total death toll from COVID-19 rose to 9,153, while the total number of patients now stands at 343,955.
Meanwhile, the number of recoveries has also increased to surpass the 300,000 mark, with 1,419 patients declared healthy.
In a tweet announcing the current figures, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said that after a long period of time the number of patients in critical condition was now on the rise.
Shortly before the announcement, Koca said during a press conference in Turkey’s eastern province Erzurum that currently there were no additional measures planned but the possibility for future measures would not be ruled out.
The minister said the outbreak had lost momentum compared to the past month but warned that the rise of cases in some provinces, including Istanbul, Bursa, Kocaeli, Kahramanmaras and Denizli, posed a risk to the entire country, thus making it essential to fight the virus in these locations especially.
Health scandal in Turkey
To recall, a huge scandal broke out in Turkey, when Fahrettin Koca admitted that asymptomatic cases were not counted as “Covid patients”. On Friday, he proclaimed that after a national health screening campaign, asymptotic case numbers, too, would be shared with the public.
Statement by the Turkish Medical Association
The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) released a statement on Twitter after Koca’s remarks, saying, “We have been saying this for six months. You haven’t run the process transparently. You have concealed the truth. You haven’t prevented the spread of the disease.”
TTB Central Committee Chair Şebnem Korur-Fincancı also shared a message with the #vakasayisikac hashtag, saying that “The truth is our right.”
Prof. Sinan Adıyaman, the previous TTB chair, called on Koca to resign from his position as the Minister of Health.
The TTB had previously revealed that the ministry had not been using the mortality codes recommended by the World Health Organization, hence the real death toll was higher than official figures.
Opposition MP: Case numbers magnitudes larger than official figures
The number of new Covid-19 cases in Turkey on September 10 was nearly 20 times more than the official figures announced by the Ministry of Health, according to a document revealed by MP Murat Emir from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).
The document was obtained from the ministry’s Laboratory Information Management System and showed that there were 29,377 new cases on that day whereas the Ministry announced 1,512 cases, Emir told Fox TV.
The number of daily tests in the document was 158,022 while the ministry announced 107,702 tests on September 10.
Addressing Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca, Emir said, “If this document is correct, now it’s time to disclose the truth to our people.”
PA Turkey estimates that total daily cases could be 4-10 times the official daily tally, based on interviews Fahrettin Koca gave to journalists.
The reluctance of the Erdogan administration to disclose the true number of cases may reflect a desire to keep the economy open. However, it may backfire, as according the recent Istanbul Economic Research poll confidence in Health Ministry declined from 65% at the peak of the first wave, to 36% by end-September. Turkey, too, could suffer economic damage from widely-observed “voluntary home quarantine” behavior.
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