Coronavirus hits hard in Turkey

The data of infections by COVID-19 in Turkey increases exponentially. The Eurasian country changed the way count the cases and the number of affected it has risen suddenly, confirming the bad records that various analysts glimpsed. As Turkey changed the way it reported daily COVID-19 infections, it confirmed what medical groups and opposition parties had long suspected: that the Ottoman country faces a boom in infection cases. which is questioning the resistance of the health system.

The government led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan decided this week to report all positive coronavirus tests, not just the number of patients receiving treatment for symptoms, bringing the number of daily cases to more than 30,000. With the new data, the country went from being one of the least affected countries in Europe to one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.

That did not come as a surprise to the Turkish Medical Association, which has been warning for months that previous executive figures concealed the severity of the spread and that a lack of transparency was contributing to the increase in the spread of the virus. The entity maintains, however, that the Ministry of Health’s figures remain low compared to its estimate of at least 50,000 new infections per day.

No country can report exact figures on the spread of the disease, as many asymptomatic cases go unrecognized, but the old way of counting made Turkey appear relatively well in international comparisons, with new daily cases well below those reported by others. nations of Europe.

Turkish hospitals are overcrowded and medical staff cannot cover everything. Meanwhile, although Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has set the occupancy rate for intensive care beds at 70%, Ebru Kiraner, who heads the Istanbul-based Association of Intensive Care Nurses, says that the beds in the Intensive care units in Istanbul hospitals are almost full, and doctors are struggling to find space for critical patients, as reported by the AP agency.

President Erdogan said, however, that “there was no problem” regarding the capacity of the hospitals. He blamed the increase in cases on the fact that the population did not follow the sanitary norms dictated.

For his part, Istanbul mayor and opposition leader Ekrem Imamoglu said 186 people died of infectious diseases in the largest Turkish city on November 22, a day when the government announced only 139 deaths from COVID-19 in all. the country. “We can only defeat the outbreak through a process that is transparent,” Imamoglu said.

Last week, Erdogan announced a series of restrictions in an attempt to contain the contagions without affecting the already weakened Ottoman economy. The opposition parties denounced these measures “half”. Curfews were introduced for the first time since June, but the Executive limited them to weekend nights; the government also closed restaurants and cafes, except take-out services, and restricted the opening hours of shopping centers, stores and hairdressers. Turkey would wait, however, two weeks to see the results of weekend curfews and other restrictions before considering stricter closures, the Health Ministry reported.

Although, according to local media, the authorities are expected to impose new restrictions since the measures that have been in force since last week are not having the desired effect to slow the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, the country has reached an agreement to receive 50 million doses of the vaccine developed by Chinese pharmaceutical company SinoVac and hopes to begin administering it to medical personnel and the chronically ill next month. It is also in negotiations to purchase the vaccine developed by Pfizer in cooperation with the pharmaceutical company BioNTech. In addition, a vaccine developed by Turkey is due to be ready for use in April and Erdogan said he had also spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the possibility of acquiring a vaccine developed by that country.