UPDATES WITH MORE DETAILS, REMARKS FROM HEALTH MINISTER
By Gozde Bayar and Havva Kara Aydin
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey registered 28,351 more coronavirus infections, including 6,814 symptomatic cases, over the past 24 hours, according to Health Ministry data released on Wednesday.
The total number of symptomatic cases in the country reached 467,730.
Following a meeting of the Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said the number of asymptomatic cases will also be shared from today.
Turkey saw 168 fatalities over the past 24 hours, the highest single-day spike in the country, bringing the death toll to 12,840.
“Most of the patients we lost are those who did not start their treatment in the early stage and did not take their medication,” he said, urging people to be wary of flu and cold symptoms and to take medicines on time.
A total of 3,911 patients recovered over the past day, bringing the tally to 385,480.
Around 164,547 COVID-19 tests were done across the country, bringing the total to date to over 17.73 million.
The number of patients in critical condition now stands at 4,641.
Koca said the country’s the daily test capacity will reach more than 200,000 in coming days.
He underlined that the virus situation got worse in the country as of the second week of October.
If people do not follow the measures resolutely, heavy restrictions would be inevitable, he added.
Starting this week, Turkey imposed a partial weekend curfew from 8 p.m. to 10 a.m. local time.
The minister said the Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board will review the results and efficacy of the curfew and will decide in approximately 10 days whether to continue with it or not.
Koca stressed the country carried out widespread filiation work, rapid detection of cases, early treatment and the free-of-charge medicine supply to patients isolated at home.
- Vaccination plan
The health minister said he was hopeful that Turkey would have a COVID-19 vaccine before the end of the year.
“If all goes well, we plan to start vaccinating at-risk groups gradually, starting with our healthcare personnel,” he said, adding that people will be vaccinated for free.
Turkey has a deal for 50 million doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine that will be delivered in December, January, and February, according to the minister.
- Western Turkey hit worst
“There has been a rapid rise in coronavirus cases in the western part of the country. Istanbul, Bursa, Kocaeli, and Izmir are seeing a peak in infections again,” said Koca.
Some 70% of intensive care units in Istanbul are now occupied, with the figure at 75.4% in the capital Ankara, he added.
The minister said all institutions and medical facilities in Turkey are making all possible efforts to manage the increasing caseload.
Across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed more than 1.41 million lives in 191 countries and regions since last December, according to the US' Johns Hopkins University.
While the US, India, and Brazil remain the worst-hit countries in terms of the number of cases, Europe is also in the grip of a devastating second wave of infections.