Health minister urges every citizen to ‘declare own emergency rule’ amid COVID-19
A woman wearing a face mask approaches a temperature screening area of an office building as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Singapore on March 20, 2020. (AFP Photo)
Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has proposed an individually-declared emergency rule for Turkish citizens as the coronavirus is infecting more people across the country, urging a strictly implemented self-containment for at least three weeks during which the pandemic could make its peak.
“People often ask whether we will declare a state of emergency. There is no need for a state of emergency. Individuals should declare their own state of emergencies and implement measures,” Koca told the daily Hürriyet in an interview on March 19. “The number of infected can be kept at minimum if we isolate ourselves in the strictest way in the coming two-three weeks.”
According to official figures, Turkey has recorded 359 COVID-19 cases and four deaths from the outbreak as of late March 18. Turkey detected the first case on March 11.
Koca has stressed the next two to three weeks will be very important as the spread of the virus could peak in Turkey. “We have to be very cautious in the next two or three weeks. We should not leave our houses in this period,” he said.
Koca, who briefed parliament on March 18 over the latest developments concerning the impacts of the pandemic in Turkey, informed that the ministry will boost virus testing throughout the country.
“Everybody will be able to be tested but it will be done upon the recommendation of doctors in the event of a medical evidence,” Koca said.
“Let’s say, you had a test and the result is negative. This will push you to ease the measures and spread the virus to others. Because there are cases observed in China in which the coronavirus could be detected in the second testing although the first try resulted negative,” he added.
It’s possible to detect the virus in the second testing and the doctors will call all the patients whose first tests were resulted negative for a second testing three days after the first attempt, the minister stated.
Upon a question about different methods implemented by countries in the world, like South Korea or Britain, Koca said Turkey is developing its own model. The minister said he did not support the British model in responding to the COVID-19 but implied that it won’t hold tests in massive numbers like China or South Korea have.
“In countries like China, where tests were carried out more frequently, it’s been observed that negative results can turn out to be positive in the second attempt. This increases the spread. We also have witnessed a case with positive coronavirus resulted in negative three or four days later. He appeared to be positive 10 days later. We have also tested his close relatives and they were tested positive as well,” he said.