By Davut Demircan
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey's president and first lady on Friday participated in nation-wide applause of doctors, nurses and healthcare workers fighting the novel coronavirus.
On Twitter, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan posted a video of himself and First Lady Emine Erdogan taking part in a call for mass applause for the medical professionals, as well as a speech from the balcony of his house in Istanbul.
"Greetings, love and of course applause on behalf of my family and my nation to the devoted heroes of our struggle against the coronavirus, and to all our healthcare professionals who face all kinds of difficulty and trouble," said Erdogan.
The move came after Health Minister Fahrettin Koca during a speech at the parliament asked lawmakers to applaud health professionals working to stem the spread of the virus.
Turkish people took to their balconies at 09.00 p.m. local time (1800GMT) in every city to show their respect and appreciation for medical workers amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
A hashtag #SaglikcilariniAlkisla (Applaud your healthcare workers) went viral on social media, with footage of people clapping in for doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers.
Late on Friday, Koca expressed thanks on Twitter to Turkish people for their gratitude towards the medical staff.
The minister, who is also a medical doctor, called on the public to continue to show their thanks with their applause on Saturday.
The coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China last December and has spread to at least 164 countries and territories. The WHO has declared the outbreak a pandemic.
The number of confirmed cases worldwide has now surpassed 266,000 while the death toll has reached nearly 11,000 and over 87,000 have recovered, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the U.S.
Despite the rising number of cases, most who become infected suffer only mild symptoms and recover.