Turkish military runs over 500,000 virus tests
The Turkish military has conducted more than 500,000 tests for COVID-19 on personnel to date, the defense minister has said.
“We are paying the utmost attention to prevent personnel in regions where military operations are taking place, on navy vessels, in air force fleet and Libya from the coronavirus,” Hulusi Akar told state-run Anadolu Agency in an interview.
The military ran 176,000 tests on conscripts in June and on another 43,000 in August of whom 1,350 were diagnosed with COVID-19, Akar said.
“Those who tested positive for the coronavirus were not allowed to serve their [mandatory] military service,” he added.
He noted that the military has taken necessary precautions to avoid a possible second wave of the outbreak.
Akar reminded that the Defense Ministry established the Center for Countering the Coronavirus (KOMMER) on March 12 shortly after Turkey confirmed the first COVID-19 case in the country.
Doctors, pharmacists and chemists working under the roof of the KOMMER have been deciding on the measures to be taken in the military, according to the minister.
“All those measures decided at the KOMMER are strictly followed and implemented in the military,” he said.
As part of KOMMER’s efforts to curb the spread of the outbreak, military facilities and the Mechanical and Chemical Industry Company (MKEK) have produced some 80-85 million protective face masks, Akar noted.
“The military’s chemical plants also produce disinfectants, drugs and the machines, which produce face masks,” the minister said, adding that Turkey has delivered medical aid to 150 countries with military planes and aircraft belonging to the Turkish Airlines.