Turkey’s health system has collapsed and the nationwide shutdown is an inadequate step in dealing with the country’s COVID-19 pandemic, the Istanbul Medical Chamber said on Tuesday, when it published its April coronavirus report.
A total of 21 healthcare workers in the country have lost their lives over the past month, Artı Gerçek news site cited the chamber as saying during a press conference in Istanbul, and the government imposed lockdown fails to look out for the well being of people.
Turkey on Thursday began a three-week lockdown after COVID-19 infections surged as high as 60,000 a day in recent weeks. Initially, Turkish authorities claimed success in curbing the outbreak, but experts maintain the country is paying the price for a premature easing of restrictions.
Noting that a shutdown, which is properly supported, cannot be effective, the chamber said the Turkish government has turned a deaf ear to their suggestions since March 2020, resulting in Turkey becoming one of the top countries in the world for infections.
“Turkey’s health system collapsed in April,’’ the chamber said, with Istanbul, which hosts a sixth of the country’s population, being hit the hardest.
“Thousands of patients in Istanbul were unable to find beds in hospitals, despite their need to be hospitalised,’’ it said.
When the government failed to prevent deaths and infections with the partial lockdown announced on April 13, it rolled a complete shutdown, the chamber said, but added that Ankara had failed in implementing a total shut down as recommended and for citizens to follow pandemic guidelines.
According to Turkey’s latest lockdown, citizens have to remain indoors except for essential shopping trips and urgent medical treatment. All intercity travel requires official approval, while all schools would shut and lessons have been moved online. A strict capacity limit would be imposed for users of public transport while the in-store sale of all non-essential goods has been banned.
Turkey on Tuesday logged 28,997 new COVID-19 infections and 336 deaths in the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed, in a sharp decline from mid-April. But the country still remains the world’s top five for highest number of cases.