Prof. Tezer Kutluk, MD PhD, FAAP, Dr. Fahad Ahmed, PhD and Meral Kirazlı
9 May 2020
Turkey faced the first COVID-19 case on March 10th. Public awareness about the infection was not high until the first case was reported. On January 10th the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Turkey established the Scientific Board to advise the Government on COVID-19 outbreak. On January 30th, WHO declared the emergency situation. On March 11th, the day after the first case was reported in Turkey, WHO announced the outbreak as a pandemic. The MoH started to prepare and distribute the guidelines for health care professionals and the general public. When the first mortality was reported on March 17th, public awareness reached its highest level. Millions of Turkish people are listening to the daily live press conferences and latest updates from the MoH’s Dr. Fahrettin Koca. Listening to the MoH’s information has become routine for all people. At the beginning, the number of testing per day saw only a gradual increas. Turkey was then able to increase its testing capacity to more than 15000 test/day in early April to more than 30000 test per day in late April.
National and international travel restrictions, the closure of schools, the closure of restaurants, cancellation of football games, meetings, partial stay home orders, and weekend lock-downs in major cities have been the major actions taken by the government. Use of surgical masks and maintaining social distance have been the major policies implemented to protect the people. Turkish companies are quickly ramping up their productions to address the growing demand of masks, personal protective equipment and respiratory ventilators during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The latest update as of May 9th shows;
Total number of tests from beginning 1334411
Total number of Corona positive cases 137115
Total mortality 3739
Number of tests on May 9th 2020 35605
Number of new cases on May 9th 2020 1546
Daily mortality on May 9th 2020 50
Patients at ICU on May 9th 2020 1168
Intubated Patients on May 9th 2020 628
Patient care has been re-organized with the postponement of elective examinations and surgeries. However, the treatment for non-corona life threatening health conditions have not been interrupted. Despite that apparently the diagnosis of new non-corona life threatening conditions is lower than the usual expected numbers. Universities have started to implement distant learning methodologies to adapt to this extra-ordinary situation. It is anticipated that by the second week of May, the number of new cases will started to decline and the government is planning to normalize everyday life by lifting some restrictions gradually.