A document allegedly taken from the Turkish Health Ministry’s Laboratories Information Management System, as made public by a main opposition deputy on Tuesday, showed nationwide coronavirus testing results from September 10 with figures much higher than the official numbers announced by the ministry on the same day.
According to ministry data, Turkey recorded 1,512 new COVID-19 cases on Sept. 10, while Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Murat Emir made public a document showing 29,377 positive test results on the same day, out of a total of 107,702 tests administered.
Turkey’s Fox Haber broadcast a video by Emir where he called on Minister Fahrettin Koca to “tell our people the truth already.”
“There is a distinction between patients and cases,” Istanbul Provincial Healthcare Director Kemal Memişoğlu told Fox Haber. “Patients are those with clinical symptoms, cases are those who have tested positive and risk infecting others or get sick themselves. If you have symptoms, you would be a patient.”
Koca had defined a COVID-19 case as a person who had tested positive for the coronavirus, “not those admitted to hospitals.”
Turkey’s medical associations and opposition politicians have frequently accused the government of obscuring the scope of the pandemic and hiding the numbers from the public.
“The first rule of fighting a pandemic is to give correct information to our people,” Emir said in a tweet.
Turkey recorded 68 deaths due to the COVID-19 coronavirus and 1,427 new cases on Tuesday, with 1,583 severely ill patients. The official figures announced daily have not included the number of intubated patients and patients in intensive care units since July 28. Officially, there are 30,638 active cases in the country, steadily rising since June 1 when pandemic restrictions were lifted.