Health care workers are in the primary risk group in the coronavirus pandemic. As the number of patients reaches nearly 400,000, more than 40,000 health care workers have been diagnosed with COVID-19. More than 100 health care workers, half of them doctors, have died since the outbreak made its foray into Turkey in March. “About one in every 10 people diagnosed with the coronavirus is a health care worker,” Mustafa Necmi Ilhan, a member of Health Ministry’s Social Sciences Board, said on Friday.
Ilhan also said people’s negligence of measures meant to prevent infections increases the burden on health care workers. He points out that from technicians to nurses, from doctors to attendants, every health care worker has been on duty in the fight against the outbreak. “They cannot even take leave and for a long time have had to work without seeing their families in person. However, this does not lessen their motivation,” Ilhan said.
The country's overall patient tally now stands at 386,820. The total number of recovered patients reached 332,379, while fatalities stand at 10,639. The number of tests has exceeded 14.7 million. Ilhan said the disease was still “effective” in Turkey and in the rest of the world and saw a surge recently, warning that people aged 65 and above and people with chronic illnesses “are in risk groups.”
“The burden of the disease on health care workers can be eased if the public heeds the measures, like wearing masks, adhering to social distancing and hygiene rules. As winter approaches, people should decrease the time they spend indoors together, avoid crowds and ventilate the places they are in often,” he said.
Earlier this week, the government announced new measures against the virus, including an early closure of cafes, restaurants and other businesses in a bid to curb the outbreak. The Interior Ministry also tightened inspections. On Friday, nationwide inspections were held with the participation of law enforcement officials, municipal police and other officials. The ministry had ordered more crews to be deployed on the streets for inspections. Mass transit vehicles and taxis were also stopped and checked for compliance with the measures in Friday’s inspections.