Minister Assesses the Latest Situation on Coronavirus

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Minister of Health, Dr. Fahrettin Koca, delivered a statement following the Coronavirus Scientific Committee meeting.

Noting that COVID-19 was reported by 31 countries, including Israel, Koca said: "As of today, the total number of reported cases are 76.775. The total number of deaths is 2.249. 99.6% of those died are from China. The number of recovered cases is close to 19 thousand."

Pointing out that they were able to keep the virus away from Turkey thanks to early measures, Koca noted that it was an important development for the virus to spread to Iran.

Saying that the Scientific Board had two meetings on the situation in Iran, Koca continued: "We are keeping a close eye on the situation. We have also had meetings with Iranian authorities and all other relevant institutions."

Minister also added that he had a one-hour phone call with the Iranian MoH, Said Nemeki, and conveyed Turkey's support to the people of Iran.

Providing the information that there were 18 coronavirus cases in Iran, Koca said:

"We told them that we are ready to help in terms of supplies, masks, gowns and the new locally-manufactured diagnostic kit and that our Scientific Board of 26 members was also available to offer its support.

We have also extended the scope of the measures at our border gates with Iran, at Ağrı Gürbulak, Van Kapıköy, Hakkari Esendere and Iğdır Dilucu, which borders Nakhchivan autonomous region, border gates."

Noting that governorates and healthcare authorities had been informed at border gates and all necessary training had been completed, Koca said: "Healthcare personnel is present at these border gates 24/7. As of last night, all passengers from Iran will have to undergo physical examination before passport check. As of yesterday, we are not letting in passengers showing symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose, sneezing, fatigue, respiratory distress."

"Iranian passengers will have to submit a medical report"

Noting that they would demand Iranian passengers to submit a medical report showing that they are in good health, Koca continued: "This demand was received well, it will be put into practice on Sunday evening. In addition to English, French and Turkish, we are now also distributing leaflets to passengers at border gates in Farsi."

New supplies will be sent to China

Noting that Turkey had shipped supplies to China twice, Koca added: "For next week, we are planning on sending medical supplies and equipment in larger quantities via a cargo plane."

"Coronavirus has yet to be detected in Turkey"

Stressing that they had managed all procedures in a transparent way, Koca continued: "The new coronavirus has yet to be detected in Turkey. And we will work on keeping it this way."

"We have sufficient stock of antivirals and medical supplies"

"Our healthcare system is strong enough to cope with such situations", said Koca and continued: "All measures to be taken if a case is detected are in place, we have sufficient stock of antivirals and medical supplies, our supply chain is strong, so no one needs to worry."

Thermal cameras at border gates

To reply the question of a reporter on whether there will be thermal cameras at border gates, Koca replied: "Yesterday, border gates were equipped with thermal cameras. Before passport checks, each passenger goes into a room to undergo a physical examination to see whether they are in good health. So, if we have any doubts about anything, we will not be allowing that person's entry into the country."

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Updated: 04/03/2020