The number of daily reported COVID-19 infections in Turkey jumped to above 28,000 on Nov. 25 after, in a surprise development, the government resumed publishing all positive cases and not just the number of patients being treated for symptoms of the coronavirus.
The government was under the pressure of not revealing the full extent of the virus spread in Turkey, after it was revealed that the number of asymptomatic cases was not being included in data published since July 29.
In a news conference following a weekly scientific advisory council meeting, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced 28,351 new infections in the past 24 hours, emphasizing that the data represented “all people whose PCR tests are positive whether they display symptoms or not.”
Turkey had previously been reporting around 6,000 daily “patients.”
Meanwhile, Koca said Turkey has reached an agreement to receive 50 million doses of the vaccine developed by Chinese pharmaceutical company SinoVac in December, January and February.
Earlier, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said a Turkish-developed vaccine could be ready for use by April, adding that his country planned to share the vaccine with other countries.
Erdoğan said Turkey has repeatedly urged countries “not to sacrifice the vaccine to political and commercial ambitions” and to make it “the joint property of all humanity.”
He added: “We are planning to put the vaccine that we are developing in the service of all humanity under the best conditions possible.” He did not elaborate.
The vaccine, ERUCOV-VAC, is being developed by Erciyes University, in the central Turkish province of Kayseri and is currently undergoing phase 1 of testing.
Erciyes University Rector Mustafa Çalış said this week that phase 2 testing could start soon.
Koca also underlined that the virus situation got worse in the country as of the second week of October.
If people do not follow the measures resolutely, heavy restrictions would be inevitable, he added.
Starting this week, Turkey imposed a partial weekend curfew from 8 p.m. to 10 a.m. local time.
The minister said the Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board will review the results and efficacy of the curfew and will decide in approximately 10 days whether to continue with it or not.
Koca stressed the country carried out widespread filiation work, rapid detection of cases, early treatment and the free-of-charge medicine supply to patients isolated at home.
Western Turkey hit worst
“There has been a rapid rise in coronavirus cases in the western part of the country. Istanbul, Bursa, Kocaeli, and Izmir are seeing a peak in infections again,” said Koca.
Some 70% of intensive care units in Istanbul are now occupied, with the figure at 75.4% in the capital Ankara, he added.
The minister said all institutions and medical facilities in Turkey are making all possible efforts to manage the increasing caseload.
Hurriyet Daily News