A spike in the number of deaths in Turkey’s largest city of Istanbul in March and April shed doubt on the accuracy of government data pertaining to coronavirus-related deaths, Turkish news site Jurnal reported.
While the mortality figures for four years leading up to 2020 remained within the same range in Istanbul, the year that the pandemic hit saw a sudden uptick by 1,218, it said.
The city, which is the epicentre for Turkey’s COVID-19 outbreak, has registered 7,791 deaths between March 16 and April 5, a jump from 6,573 for the same time period in 2019; 6,487 in 2018; 6,457 in 2017; and 6, 279 in 2016, Jurnal said, citing data from Turkey’s e-devlet (e-state) application.
Turkey confirmed its first case of coronavirus on March 11. Turkey’s Health Hinistry on Monday announced that 649 people had died due to the deadly virus while over 30,000 tested positive for COVID-19.
Istanbul carries 60 percent of the country’s coronavirus cases, which would account for around 387 deaths, according to the ministry.
The ministry has dismissed discrepancy claims – previously pointed out by opposition lawmaker Veli Ağbaba – as baseless, saying that the numbers it announced were “based on evidence” and “real-time, true data.”
Ağbaba had brought public attention to a discrepancy between the number of COVID-19 deaths announced by the Istanbul Municipality’s funeral services and the one presented by the Health Ministry.