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Surge in Turkey’s New Coronavirus Cases a Concern, WHO Says

This content was published on April 8, 2020 - 10:59

(Bloomberg) --

The World Health Organization said it’s concerned about the spread of the coronavirus in Turkey, after the country announced its biggest daily jump in new cases.

Turkey “has seen a dramatic increase in the virus spread over the last week,” Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, told reporters on Wednesday in an online briefing. The comments mark the most serious warning over the Turkish outbreak from the world’s top health organization.

After confirming its first case on March 10 Turkey has seen its chart of new infections steepen, but the total caseload remains substantially below those of the worst hit countries in Europe.

On Tuesday, Turkey announced 3,892 new cases, bringing the total to 34,109 on the 29th day since the outbreak began. It has reported 725 deaths. The jump in cases is partly due to the number of tests administered, which nearly tripled over 10 days, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

Below are highlights of data compiled by Bloomberg on the outbreak in Turkey:

  • Total cases rose 12.9% on Tuesday, compared to an all-time low of 11.6% the previous day, and the first acceleration in a week
  • The percentage of people who tested positive during screening was 19.4% on Tuesday, the highest in 10 days. The figure had been in constant decline since day 18 and saw and all-time low of 14.7% on Monday
  • The number of total tests administered during the first 29 days of the outbreak reached 222,868. The daily number will reach 30,000 from next week

Steep Rise

Turkey was one of the last major economies to confirm the virus on its soil. Since then, it has gradually tightened restrictions with a lockdown for young and elderly people, a suspension of passenger flights and quarantine measures in more than 30 cities, including Istanbul and the capital, Ankara.

Health Minister Koca said the trajectory of the pandemic during the next two weeks will be critical. Occupancy in hospital intensive care units is below 63%, he said.

Turkey has a much younger population compared to hot spots in Europe, Koca said, and a strong health-care infrastructure.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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