Turkey’s COVID-19 situation better than Europe, US: WHO

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The COVID-19 situation in Turkey is not as bad as in other European countries or the U.S. due to measures concerning masks and social distancing, according to the World Health Organization’s Office in Turkey.

An interview conducted on Dec. 4 by German news outlet Deutsche Welle’s Turkish service with the WHO Office in Turkey about the latest COVID-19 situation in the country and the world was “unfortunately” misinterpreted by some media outlets, WHO Turkey said on Dec. 6 on Twitter.

Sharing the interview on social media, it said: “Situation globally is alarming as cases are increasing and with the winter as we go more indoors, cases are only likely to increase”.

Speaking on Turkey’s approach toward fighting COVID-19, WHO Turkey underlined that when it comes to the number of cases, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said nothing that is not shared with the Turkish people first is shared with anyone outside.

The WHO is asking all member states to report all positive cases, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic.

“In the case of Turkey, at least we are picking up ‘asymptomatic’ and assuring isolation and quarantine so we are picking a proportion of asymptomatic to curb this silent spread in Turkey,” it added.

Speaking on the transparency of Turkey on the number of cases, it stressed: “Turkey managed well since start. We are not as bad as in other countries now too. But we all must remain committed to all mitigation measures.”

Turkey, its Health Ministry and the WHO have a very strong relationship. The WHO’s regional director has visited Turkey twice in the last six months, which indicates very strong bilateral relations between the two entities, it said.

Commenting on the reliability of the Chinese vaccine that Turkey ordered, it said the “WHO does not validate or not any vaccine, diagnostic, or treatment per se. We share evidence and guidance.”

Approval or non-approval of vaccines is at the discretion of organizations in the related countries, especially in emergencies.

It said vaccine manufacturers under WHO COVAX share data with the WHO and others, adding they have the second phase data for the Chinese vaccine but have not yet received the third phase data.

“However, the Chinese vaccine uses a long-established reliable PH technique of inactivated virus.

“Turkey has done its vaccine distribution and allocation plan and prioritized population sub-groups in line with WHO guidance. But still, it will be months before vaccine gets to everyone,” it added.

Hurriyet Daily News

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