Twenty one people lost their lives after contracting COVID-19 since Wednesday, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced in his Thursday coronavirus Twitter briefing.
“Today the number of recovering patients surpassed the number of new cases again,” Koca said, urging continued adherence to preventative measures. Since Wednesday, 1,382 people have recovered while 1,304 new cases were diagnosed.
According to the figures Koca announced, Turkey currently has 23,127 active cases of COVID-19. A total of 4,882 people have lost their lives. Standing at 755, the number of patients needing intensive care has been steadily rising since the country started to implement “normalisation” measures on June 1.
Meanwhile, the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) released a statement titled, “Results of early re-opening are sounding the alarm,” warning that the ministry “insistently avoids releasing epidemiological data on the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The statement pointed to a discrepancy between figures announced by Koca in a press briefing on Wednesday, and data calculated from previously announced figures.
According to TTB, Turkey has had an average of 1,074 new daily diagnoses between May 18 and June 17, whereas Koca announced 1,099 as the past 30 days’ average for 10 provinces.
“The fact that the figure pertains to only 10 provinces brings to the agenda another discussion of case numbers in the remaining 71 provinces. The ministry is expected to explain the discrepancy here,” TTB said.
“As the province that is home to 18.66 percent of Turkey’s population, Istanbul still reporting more than 60 percent of cases shows that the city continues to be a centre of concentration,” it said.
Some of Turkey’s largest provinces, capital Ankara, industrial centres Bursa and Kocaeli, agricultural industry-based Konya and Diyarbakır, the largest Kurdish-majority province with a population of over one million, have recorded higher average rates of infection than what the ministry has announced, TTB said.
The top medical association called for province-by-province analyses, transparent data sharing, a shift in responsibility from individuals to the public order, and the inclusion of professional organisations in the decision-making processes.