UPDATES WITH FURTHER REMARKS BY TURKISH PRESIDENT, CHANGES HEADLINE
By Fahri Aksut and Ali Murat Alhas
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey's greatest advantages in fighting the coronavirus outbreak are its strong healthcare infrastructure and its early start, said the nation’s president on Wednesday.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the public to stay at home until further notice and maintain social distancing in a bid to stem the virus’ spread.
Speaking by video to district heads of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, Erdogan said the goal is to ensure that Turkey leaves this troubling period behind with minimal losses, adding that state institutions are working hard.
"We should urge our citizens, their children, and elderly to stay committed to rules," he said, adding that people should notify state officials if they see any deficiencies regarding measures.
He went on to say that the spread of the virus could be curbed if people were careful about social activity and distancing.
On the pandemic’s financial fallout, he said: "We are determined to ensure continued production and exports."
"God willing, we will overcome this plague by paying attention to cleaning, vacating the streets, and not leaving our houses if not necessary," he said.
If each one of our citizens puts her/himself under quarantine, we will not have to take any further measures, he said.
He also noted that traveling between provinces could be temporarily halted, as it is the case with intra-city travels if need be.
“We will survive this period,” Erdogan asserted.
While basic services concerning health, food, and cleaning continued without any interruption, education is carried out through television or online means, the president said.
Referring to the National Solidarity Campaign, through which citizens could make donations, Erdogan said the collected money would be spent for those in need.
He added that Cabinet members, business world, benefactors, and citizens embraced the campaign.
"We are putting efforts to open new hospitals," he said, and thanked health personnel working hard to treat patients suffering from the disease.
So far, the virus has claimed 214 lives in Turkey, and registered cases have climbed to more than 13,000.
After originating in Wuhan last December, COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has spread to at least 180 countries and regions across the world, with its epicenter shifting to Europe.
The virus has killed more than 44,100 people and infected over 883,200 globally, while recoveries from the disease exceeded 185,300, according to figures compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.