April 6, 2020

TURKEY: Turkey Rejected Chinese Coronavirus Testing Kits Over Inaccurate Results. Rapid Testing Kits Were Only 30-35 Percent Accurate. Turkey Has 30,217 Coronavirus Cases, 649 Coronavirus Deaths.

TRT World published March 31, 2020: Coronavirus pandemic in Turkey. A new corona virus emerged at the end of last year - but it wasn't until this month that the first case was detected in Turkey. By then the Turkish authorities already had a raft of measures in the pipeline. Andrew Hopkins reports on its response.
Snipit of transcript starting at 1:31: But Turkey had already started taking precautions. A plane carrying 42 people including more than 30 Turkish citizens arrived in Ankara at the start of February. They've been evacuated from Wuhan, the city in China where the pandemic began. One passenger spoke of his experiences there..." Watch the video to listen to the rest. (emphasis mine)
Middle East Eye
written by Ragip Soylu in Ankara
Friday March 27, 2020

The Turkish government has cast aside a sample of Chinese-made coronavirus rapid testing kits after finding out that they gave inaccurate results, a Turkish official confirmed to Middle East Eye on Friday.

"We have received some samples from the company," the official said. "We didn’t find them viable and ordered some other testing kit models from a separate Chinese company."

The official did not say how many kits were concerned, while noting that they hadn't yet been used with the wider public.

The news comes as Spain revealed on Thursday that it had withdrawn 9,000 Chinese-made kits after realising that they had only 30 percent accuracy. A Czech media outlet also reported that up to 80 percent of the 150,000 portable quick tests that China delivered to the republic earlier this month were faulty.

Spanish officials told the media that the testing kits were also manufactured by the same company that had supplied the Turkish government.

"I cannot confirm whether the ones we received are the same as the ones in Spain," the Turkish official added.

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca confirmed later on Friday that Turkey had tried some rapid antigen tests arrived from China, but authorities "weren't happy about them."

"We didn't release them for public use," he said in a televised presser.

Koca also said that Turkey had received a different and viable testing kits that are based on antibodies from China. "We have 350,000 of them now," he said.

A member of the Turkish health ministry special science board on coronavirus said that the batch of testing kits were only 30 to 35 percent accurate.

"We have tried them. They don't work. Spain has made a huge mistake by using them," Professor Ates Kara said on CNNTurk.

Kara said Turkey was among three countries able to produce their own real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests that can give results in six hours.

Coronavirus toll rises

Also on Friday, Turkey announced 16 new deaths from the disease, bringing the total number to 92. Koca said the total number of confirmed infections had reached 5,698, after 7,533 tests were conducted earlier in the day.

He also said that the special science board advised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to further increase the measures in the country by putting cities in isolation as number of patients in the country has increased 50 percent in a single day.

Meanwhile, around 1,500 foreigners - mainly from Algeria - were taken to a dormitory in northern Turkey after being stranded at Istanbul airport due to the pandemic.

Istanbul Airport operator IGA said on Tuesday that the government had tried to persuade the Algerian government to grant landing rights for the affected flights. Algeria has suspended the flights since 19 March.

Since the virus reached Turkey, the government has unleashed an array of measures aimed at curbing its spread, including closing down schools, universities, cafes, congressional prayers, indefinitely postponing sporting events and suspending flights to many countries.

The Interior Ministry also announced that grocery store and supermarket hours would be limited to between 9am and 9pm, with a maximum of one customer for every 10 square metres of shop space.

Turkish authorities have ordered those aged 65 and above and those with chronic illnesses to stay at home, while most public spaces have been temporarily closed.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Friday that intercity bus travel would be restricted beginning on midnight as parks, forests and shores would be closed in the weekends to minimise the contagion.
Kathimerini News, Greece local
written by AP staff
Saturday March 21, 2020

Turkey has banned people above 65 and those with chronic health problems from leaving their homes as part of Ankara’s efforts to combat the novel coronavirus.

The interior ministry said in an order Saturday the high-risk groups would be under curfew and would not be allowed to leave their residences, go to public spaces or use public transportation starting midnight.

Many Turkish citizens, among them the elderly, have ignored public announcements to remain indoors, flocking to parks and public spaces. The ministry said the continued presence of senior citizens and the chronically ill in the public “risks themselves and public health.”

The ministry said social support groups would ensure their basic needs are met.

At least 670 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and nine people have died in Turkey.


TRT World published April 3, 2020: Turkey has sped into top ten most infected countries. Well here in Turkey, the number of coronavirus cases has jumped significantly to 18-thousand - making it the tenth highest in the world, in terms of infections. And as Andrew Hopkins reports everyday life has changed dramatically in an effort to curb the further spred of COVID-19.

Daily Sabah News, Turkey local
written by Staff
Monday April 6, 2020

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Turkey increased by 3,148 to 30,217, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced Monday.

Koca said in a statement he shared on his Twitter account that 75 patients have died in the last 24 hours, bringing Turkey's total virus death toll to 649.

According to the statement, 1,415 patients are in intensive care, while 1,326 have recovered so far.

In the past 24 hours, 21,400 COVID-19 tests were conducted, while the total number has reached to 202,845. Koca noted that they aim to conduct 30,000 tests daily.

Turkey has taken a series of measures to try to limit the spread of the new coronavirus, from closing schools, quarantining more than 50 towns and areas, and imposing a 24-hour curfew for people under the age of 20. A similar quarantine for people above the age of 65 had previously been put into effect.

People are barred from leaving cities in 31 of the country's 81 provinces. Istanbul, Ankara and ฤฐzmir, the country's most populated provinces, are included in this quarantine.

Nationwide measures are added almost daily, while municipalities are taking their own additional precautions as well.

Turkey, meanwhile is trying to develop both a vaccine and successful treatment.

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