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UPDATE - Turkey sent virus aid to 138 countries: President

UPDATE - Turkey sent virus aid to 138 countries: President
We're determined to make Turkey the health center of 3 continents, says President Recep Tayyip Erdogan


By Burak Bir and Jeyhun Aliyev

ANKARA (AA) - Turkey to date has sent medical aid to 138 countries to help them combat the coronavirus pandemic, said Turkey’s president on Saturday.

"We have sent medical equipment and supplies to 138 countries, regardless of religion, language, race, or region," Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the inauguration ceremony for a new state hospital in Istanbul.

Telling how Turkey's exemplary efforts against the virus laid the groundwork for new opportunities in medical tourism, he added, "We’re determined to make Turkey the health center of three continents," meaning Asia, Europe, and Africa, with Turkey at their hub.

"Thanks to the measures we took and the methods we developed, we’re among the countries that survived the epidemic with the least loss of life," he said.

Erdogan said that today, besides its own hospitals, Turkish-made respirators have been used in many countries, "from Brazil to Somalia."

"Interest in healthcare products originating in our country has risen exponentially," he added.

- Kartal State Hospital

Touching on the new Kartal State Hospital, Erdogan said that it is expected to see some 100,000 surgeries a year, cancer surgery in particular.

The hospital originally went into service back in 1987 with only 150 beds, and over time this became insufficient, the president said.

With an investment of 618 million Turkish liras ($90 million), the five-block hospital with an enclosed area of 302,000 square meters (3.25 million square feet) is expected to treat 3.5 million patients annually on an outpatient basis and 150,000 for inpatient treatment, he said.

Erdogan underlined that thanks to its special foundation, the hospital is one of the most earthquake-resistant facilities in Istanbul.

- Turkey's fight against pandemic

"We have not turned away any of our citizens under threat of epidemic from the hospital doors. We did not neglect the treatment of any patient," Erdogan said.

Turkey provided its people with everything necessary to fight disease, including tests, diagnosis, treatment and medicine, he added.

"Regardless of their financial means, we have provided first-class healthcare to all 83 million individuals [in Turkey] in this difficult process."

The president also said Turkish city hospitals are among the best in the world, and number one in Europe.

As of Friday, Turkey had registered a total of 5,186 deaths due to coronavirus, while over 178,000 people have recovered from the disease. Currently, there are more than 203,000 confirmed cases in the country.

Since originating in China last December, the pandemic has claimed over 526,000 lives in 188 countries and regions.

More than 11.1 million cases have been reported worldwide, while over 6 million patients have recovered so far, according to figures compiled by the US' Johns Hopkins University.

- The Economy

Later, speaking at the inauguration ceremony of a new Treasury and Finance Ministry building in Istanbul, Erdogan said he believes despite the virus’ economic fallout, he believes Turkey will leave it behind moving in a positive direction.

"Everybody started to slowly acknowledge that our country is moving up in a big way, not just recovery, but beyond that."

He said that aside from the short delay caused by the pandemic, the government continues to implement Turkey's economy program with the same determination.

"We are determined to reduce inflation to single digits as soon as possible."

Erdogan highlighted that the country has become a strong regional actor never seen in recent history.

source: News Feed
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