Number of people going to hospital for COVID-19 down, says health minister

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The number of people going to hospital for COVID-19 has declined by half in Turkey, the country’s health minister has said.

The impact of the measures taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus has started to be seen both on the number of cases and admissions to hospitals, Fahrettin Koca told reporters in the northwestern province of Edirne on May 3.

The full lockdown imposed last week is expected to bring about a sharp decline in infections, the minister said, adding that the effects of those measures will also be reflected soon in the number of patients in critical condition and fatalities.

Koca dismissed suggestions that the recent decline recorded in virus cases is due to fewer COVID-19 tests conducted.

“Those are wrong and ill-intentioned assessments,” the minister said.

He noted that the tests are run on people who show symptoms or are contacts of COVID-19 patients.

The decline in the number of tests is not the reason for the drop in the number of cases reported but it worked other way around; fewer tests were conducted due to fewer infections, the minister explained.

“A decline in contact between people is generally expected because of restrictions. Consequently, the number of people going to clinics and the number of tests conducted by filiation teams are declining,” Koca said.

The minister also pointed that Turkey witnessed a peak in the outbreak in the past weeks and imposing a full lockdown was necessary to bring the virus cases down further, calling on people to have their COVID-19 vaccines.

Locally developed jabs

Phase 2 studies on the locally developed vaccine candidate based on the innovative virus-like particle (VLP) technology will begin at the end of May, Professor Hasan Mandal, the head of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), said on May 3.

“Phase 3 studies may commence in August and the vaccine could be ready at the end of the year,” Mandal said, noting that the VLP based vaccine is designed to be effective against the variants of COVID-19.

Mandal also said that two universities are making progress in the development of drugs to be a treatment for COVID-19.

“Ankara University and Bahçeşehir University are working on the coronavirus drugs. We expect both medications to be made available for use in August,” he said.

Hurriyet Daily News

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