UPDATED WITH MORE REMARKS BY TURKISH HEALTH MINISTER
By Sena Guler and Seda Sevencan
ANKARA (AA) – Large-scale production of Turkish hospital respirators is one of the nation’s next steps against coronavirus, Turkey’s health minister announced Monday.
“We’re starting the mass production of domestic [respirator] devices,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told reporters in the capital Ankara, after an hours-long meeting of a committee tackling the outbreak.
Other steps in Turkey’s all-out efforts include the appointment of 32,000 new healthcare personnel, he said.
He added that Turkey has imported a promising medicine from China to provide quicker help to COVID-19 patients.
He said the solidarity against coronavirus found in Turkey “is almost unparalleled,” adding that they are working hard to quickly test, isolate, and treat patients who contracted the virus.
-350,00 test kits
Koca said that all materials needed to diagnose and treat the disease will be provided to all hospitals, adding that “50,000 quick diagnostic kits came from China in the morning,” and 300,000 additional kits will arrive on Thursday.
On Turkey’s efforts to find a vaccine, Koca said: “We called on six universities and a center [to work on this]. We will support all of them without limitation.”
“In the coming days we will be announcing the number of recovering cases every day. I want to note that we have a large number of people who have recovered,” Koca stressed.
Saying most of the victims in Turkey to date have been elderly, Koca explained two were age 50-60, one was 91, and all the others were older than 61.
He reiterated his call on the elderly to stay home and keep themselves safe for their loved ones.
Though the virus has claimed over 15,000 deaths worldwide, most people who contract it face mild symptoms before making a recovery.
He added that among people testing positive for the virus are some healthcare personnel.
In recent days Turkey has stepped up its measures to curb the coronavirus pandemic by banning public gatherings, closing schools and restaurants, and encouraging people to self-isolate.
So far, 30 people have died of the virus in Turkey, with 1,236 cases confirmed.
The virus, which emerged in Wuhan, China last December, has spread to at least 168 countries and regions around the globe, while the tally of confirmed cases exceeds 360,600 and the death toll is over 15,000, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
China, Italy, Iran, and Spain continue to be the countries hardest hit.