Scientists warned that the coronavirus may have reached a critical spreading point days ago in Turkey, said news site Sol International.
“We should make all our efforts to not being Italy, where the virus has spread so fast due to the insufficient measures to prevent it,” Alpay Azap, a member of Turkey’s Coronavirus Science Council, said on Wednesday.
“Considering that we are able to run COVID-19 tests for a very few patients and only 20 percent of them come to hospitals for diagnosis, it is possible that we reached the critical level of spreading fast of the virus many days ago,’’ Azap said.
Public health specialist and Sol columnist İlker Belek said the government had failed to take necessary precautions in time and had only done limited testing.
“Diagnosis in such outbreaks is the most critical point because you can stop the spread of the epidemic only by putting the infected patients and their relatives in quarantine,” he said.
Belek also said that the Turkish government’s definition of suspected cases was very limited as those who had not travelled to a country with coronavirus in the past 14 days, or had not been in close contact with a patient diagnosed in the past 14 days, or suspect they may have the virus, but are not showing symptoms are not eligible for testing in Turkey.
“One of the reasons behind China’s success in combating the COVID-19 pandemic is that the Chinese government has implemented the necessary changes to diagnose all cases in a short time,” he said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday that the crisis would be overcome with patience and prayers. “A person who performs five-time ablution in a day takes its self-precautions both religiously and medically,” he said.
Erdoğan on Wednesday also advised the country to stay at home unless absolutely necessary for at least three weeks, and announced a 100 billion lira ($15.4 billion) package to support the economy and lessen the fallout from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
Turkey announced a second death on Wednesday and said infections had nearly doubled to 191, despite stepping up measures to contain the virus, including closing cafes, banning mass prayers, and halting flights to 20 countries.