There was no scientific data that the coronavirus virulence has lessened and that the virus infection speed has dropped, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca warned as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to dominate Turkey's agenda with the rise in cases.
Speaking after a meeting of the Health Ministry's Coronavirus Science Board on Wednesday evening, Koca said the international community has appreciated Turkey for its fight against the pandemic but that the success should be sustained. “We succeeded in bringing the number of new daily cases below 1,000, but we are concerned with a rise again in recent days. As a matter of fact, this is something that can be easily taken under control. Most of the measures we took are simple to comply with. This fight against the pandemic does not require us to do impossible things,” Koca said.
Turkey's daily COVID-19 death toll now stands at 19 as of Wednesday. The total number of recoveries in the country has surpassed 175,000. A total of 2,311 COVID-19 patients recovered in a single day from the virus. Turkey registered 1,192 new cases of COVID-19 from Tuesday into Wednesday, and the total number of infections nationwide reached 201,098.
The country's death toll from the coronavirus rose to 5,150 with the newly reported fatalities.
Nearly 54% of all COVID-19 patients in the country are in the metropolis city of Istanbul, Koca said.
He noted that there had been a decreasing trend in the average age of COVID-19 cases over the last month, with most cases occurring between the ages of 25 and 45.
"Anyone who is conscious about the COVID-19 pandemic and complies with the rules is a hero that saves lives in today's conditions," he added.
Koca noted that more than 60 Turkish provinces now have mask requirements, but compliance with the rule or proper use of masks was not at the desired level. “Masks should be used for a day as they lose their protective feature if used the next day. The public should be careful about their use,” he said.
The minister also warned about a surge in cases in five provinces in the past two weeks. “About 53% of the cases have been in Istanbul, and we saw a significant rise in daily cases in Ankara, Gaziantep, Bursa, Konya and Diyarbakır,” Koca said. One day after his statements, meetings and demonstrations of any kind have been banned in Ankara. The governorate of the Turkish capital said in a statement Thursday that in addition to other restrictions being imposed, it is also obligatory to wear masks when in public.
He also praised five provinces, Tekirdağ, Balıkesir, Samsun, Kırşehir and Düzce, for decreasing daily cases by complying with measures. “Tekirdağ decreased the number of new cases daily around 31% while it is about 21% in Balıkesir,” he underlined.
As for age bracket affected most, figures show most cases are among those between the ages of 25 and 45. “We see more young people are carriers now, and this is linked to increased mobility. You may recover from the illness but may infect someone else, your parents, your relatives,” he warned. Koca also pointed out the risk for the elderly with additional health conditions. “About 72% of fatalities among patients at the age of 60 and above are those with at least one additional disease. We also see a spike in the average age of intubated patients, from 65.2 to 67.4 as of the end of June,” he said.
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