By Ozcan Yildirim and Cankut Tasdan
ANKARA (AA) - Turkish people on Thursday paid respect for doctors, nurses and healthcare workers who are fighting the novel coronavirus, applauding them from their windows and balconies across the country.
The move came after Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca during a speech at the parliament asked lawmakers to applaud health workers who work hard to stem the spread of the virus.
Turks took to their balconies at 9 p.m. local time (1800GMT) in the Turkish capital Ankara, as well as the country’s largest city Istanbul, plus other cities to show their respect for medical workers amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
A hashtag #BeraberBasaracagiz -- #wewillsucceedtogether in English -- went viral on social media, with video clips showing people applauding doctors, nurses, and health workers for working day and night.
Late Thursday, Koca posted on Twitter to thank Turkish people for showing their respect to the medical staff, saying: "You gave strength to our devoted healthcare professionals with your applause."
The minister, who is also a medical doctor, called on the public to continue to show their gratitude with their applause three-nights in a row.
Earlier on Thursday Koca confirmed the third death from the new coronavirus in the country, with 191 reported cases.
COVID-19 emerged in Wuhan, China last December, and has spread to at least 160 countries and territories. The WHO declared the outbreak a pandemic.
Out of more than 236,000 confirmed cases, the death toll now exceeds 9,700, and over 84,500 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.
* Writing by Handan Kazanci in Istanbul.