Coronavirus under control in Turkey, says health minister
Turkey has registered a constant recovery in week five since the first COVID-19 case was reported and the pandemic is under control, the health minister said on May 13.
"We have been in steady recovery since week five of the outbreak. Under current conditions, the pandemic is under control," Fahrettin Koca said during a news conference following a virtual meeting of Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board.
"Although our daily test capacity [for COVID-19] has reached 50,000, there is no need for such an amount due to the decline in new cases," Koca added.
Meanwhile, the filiation team of 6,239 people reaches out to 722,000 people contacting a patient since the first coronavirus case was recorded in Turkey, the top health official said.
PCR tests to be implemented to tourists
Turkey also would implement PCR tests on foreign tourists arriving in Turkey as part of measures against novel coronavirus, as the government plans to resume tourism activities in late May.
“After the feast [Eid al-Fitr], we will plan to make this period healthier, by testing overseas arrivals widely, provided that they are controlled,” he said.
The minister said they would prefer PCR tests, rather than rapid tests for the tourists.
In the past eight weeks, Turkey’s strategy to fight COVID-19 was successful, but people should not crow over on the issue of social isolation, the minister warned.
“We will defeat this outbreak as has been done in history,” he said, adding that people should avoid crowds during this time and embrace this lifestyle for a while.
Masks and social distancing are essential measures, but not sufficient, therefore people must avoid risky environments, he noted.
“The successful implementation of ‘Controlled Social Life’ will be possible by reorganizing the social space according to the outbreak conditions,” he said and warned that the past eight weeks are not enough to voice final success in the struggle against the novel coronavirus.
Turkish health minister, WHO official discuss virus
Meanwhile, Turkey’s health minister and the World Health Organization's (WHO) regional director for Europe held a videoconference to discuss the novel coronavirus on May 13.
Dr. Fahrettin Koca and Dr. Hans Kluge discussed the number of coronavirus cases, recovery rates, treatment algorithms implemented by Turkey, and normalization steps in the country, according to a statement from the Turkish Health Ministry.
Highlighting the close cooperation with the WHO during the epidemic, Koca said that Turkey clearly led a successful process on virus tests, follow-ups, and treatment.
“In Turkey, the course of the figures clearly show that,” Koca added.
“While there is a serious problem, especially the mortality rate in elderly across the globe, my country stands out with its effective treatment methods and low mortality rate,” he added.
The minister said this successful process brought Turkey to normalization.
Turkey plans to ease some measures against the virus gradually and in a controlled manner, he added.
Turkey as an important and powerful cooperation partner, Kluge stressed on carrying out a study on Turkey’s COVID-19 fight.
“I will be very happy to work” with Turkish experts “to document the great Turkish experience in the COVID-19 response,” he added.
“I was very impressed by your presentation at the meeting of ministers of health of the Turkic Council,” he said referring to a videoconference meeting in late April between Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan plus the WHO.
“All the Central Asian countries are telling me how much they appreciate the solidarity by Turkey,” he said.
“Thank you very much for the great example of international leadership and solidarity,” Kluge added.