Minister of Health, Dr. Fahrettin Koca, delivered a presentation on the novel coronavirus epidemic at the parliament's Health, Family, Labor and Social Affairs Committee.
Briefing the Committee on MoH's efforts with regard to the epidemic, Koca said: "Italy could not take any measures. And Europe did not cut ties with Italy. Europe is still late to take precautions. Right now, Italy is going through a very bad time and this will be the case for Germany and France soon."
Reminding the Committee members that the Scientific Committee published a guide on January 15, following the reporting of the first case on December 31, Koca commented:
"Then, we equipped airports with thermal cameras. When we did this, only a handful of countries were using thermal cameras. On February 5, we stopped all flights to and from China. Again, there were only a handful of countries that did so. Then, we saw the number of cases rising in Iran. Virus spread in Qom and Masshad due to students from China. These cities were not quarantined. I personally spoke to the Minister of Health and insisted them to quarantine. I said: "If you are not taking measures, then we are closing the borders." And we did, on February 23."
Noting that there is a great chance that the virus is in Turkey, Koca added:
"We do not have any confirmed cases. But, there are a lot of nationals who have been abroad. Who can be sure that they were not infected there? The problem is global, but our struggle is national."
"Do not go abroad unless you have to"
Pointing out that anyone with international travel history can be considered a suspected case, Koca continued:
"The infection will either be imported or it already has. Previously, we did not consider Europe as high-risk. People who traveled to China, Iran, Korea and Japan were considered high-risk. But now, anyone with international travel history is a suspected case. Therefore, we recommend that Turkish people do not travel abroad unless they have to. We ask the ones who do not have any symptoms to self-isolate for 14 days. We recommend them to not have close contact with the elderly and patients with chronic diseases."