Coronavirus cases rise by 50 pct in Istanbul: Health minister

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The number of cases in Istanbul had risen by 50% in the last month, while there was a 60% decrease in the capital Ankara, Turkey‘s health minister said on Oct. 14.

Speaking at a news conference, Fahrettin Koca said a total of 490,480 people who were intending to travel abroad have been tested and 1,226 of them were diagnosed with COVID-19.

He emphasized Turkey’s early use of antiviral drugs, adding: “Is there any other country in the world that provides medications to people with early symptoms free of charge?”

Koca said more than 40,000 healthcare personnel have tested positive and 107 of them have lost their lives.

“We previously conducted a field scan covering 153,000 people to measure the prevalence and immunity of the infection and shared the results with the public,” he said.

He stressed that a field scan will be repeated on Oct. 15 covering 153,000 people to measure the prevalence and immune status of the virus infection.

Koca noted that they are working on a sample large enough to reflect the entire society. He said those with positive test results but who have not shown symptoms will be tested, and also with antibody tests, people who already had the virus but did not notice and developed an immunity to it will also be detected.

“This study will give us an idea about the whole society,” he said.

He said Turkey’s vaccine trials are being carried out by a team of 600 people connected to the Health Ministry’s Coronavirus Science Committee and that the group was currently working on four different types of vaccines.

Koca added that two of the vaccines are now close to the human testing stage.

He noted as a reference that a rubella vaccine was developed in seven years, a whooping cough vaccine in eight years, a polio vaccine in 20 years, an influenza vaccine in 14 years and a tuberculosis vaccine in 21 years.

He said they were not considering any measures in terms of restrictions in Istanbul and that the imposition of curfews is not under consideration.

Koca stated that the course of the epidemic among students who have started face-to-face education will be evaluated in the coming two weeks.

He emphasized that there were no concessions made in the field regarding the virus and that the numbers announced by the ministry until today were correct.

The health minister stated that Turkey was among the countries that test people with symptoms, especially according to the treatment guide of the Science Committee.

Hurriyet Daily News

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