Turkey did not use the rapid coronavirus kits procured from China after tests suggested they had a low accuracy level, Prof. Dr. Ateş Kara, a member of the Health Ministry's Coronavirus Science Committee, said on March 26. A day later, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca confirmed that a batch of kits shipped from China was not used, but said that these unreliable kits were different than the recently purchased 350,000 kits.
Main opposition Deputy Chairman Fethi Açıkel criticized Turkish Airlines' March 26 decision to halt New York-Istanbul flights for being too late, adding that the company transported some 500 from the coronavirus hotspot in the past two days. The Health Ministry should reveal the admission process for these passengers and whether they were quarantined, Açıkel noted.
Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) held the only communal Friday prayer in the country March 27, a practice that was temporarily banned to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The official statement noted that very few members of the congregation were in attendance and that they took precautions against the virus.
Neşe İdil reports: Unions and performers have urged the suspension of TV series' sets amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Şebnem Sönmez, a renowned Turkish actress who is also a member of the Actors' Union of Turkey, said that all the sets must be suspended, including commercials, movies and TV series. Another prominent Turkish actress, Tilbe Saran, pointed to the fact that one person can infect 2.6 others, so the continuation of the sets pose a threat to public health.
Five districts in Turkey’s Black Sea province of Rize placed under quarantine for coronavirus suspicion
A region involving five districts in the Black Sea region of Turkey placed itself under quarantine to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the Rize Health Directorate said March 27. The region of 3500 people had one 67-year-old resident die from the virus and three others were identified to be infected.
Hacı Bişkin reports: A non-governmental organization that defends prisoners' rights, Turkey’s Civil Society in the Penal System (CISST), received an overwhelming number of complaints from inmates about coronavirus precautions. Inmates mostly complained about the over-capacity occupancy, the lack of social distancing and hygiene supplies.
Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) has said that payments, preparations and other procedures for would-be Turkish pilgrims to Saudi Arabia have been halted indefinitely amid the coronavirus pandemic. Most of the pilgrims who returned to Turkey from Umrah were put under quarantine in student dormitories across the country.
Nuray Pehlivan reports: Thousands of migrants who remain at Turkey’s borders in hopes of crossing over to Europe are now being told to leave the area due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ankara’s recent instructions about the coronavirus directly contradict their Feb. 28 decision that allowed migrants crossings, leaving them once again in limbo.
Istanbul buries coronavirus casualties in coffins instead of shrouds, eliminates communal funeral prayers
Persons who die from coronavirus-related complications are buried in coffins in Istanbul and the communal funeral prayers before the burial are eliminated, an official from the provincial cemeteries directorate said. While morticians now wear personal protective equipment, burial spots aren't lined with lime.
A police officer was suspended in the western province of Manisa after a video of him yelling at a senior citizen caused controversy on social media, the Manisa Governor's Office said March 26. In the footage, the police officer is seen yelling at an older man for violating the coronavirus curfew placed on seniors March 21.
Employees of Turkey's postal services (PTT) urged the management to take the necessary precautions against the coronavirus which have been lacking so far. Turkish Postal Employees Union (Haber Sen) said that most of the PTT branches have not been disinfected, and personnel do not have access to basic-level items such disinfectant lotion, gloves and masks.
Turkish cities have shown significant drops in air pollutants as the coronavirus hits work and travel, according to the Environment and Urbanization Ministry's data.
Turkey’s death toll from coronavirus rose by 16 to 75 as the number of cases increased by 1,196 to 3,629, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said late on March 26. He said on Twitter that 7,286 tests were carried out within the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of tests carried out in Turkey to around 40,000.
The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) has said that the official coronavirus case numbers in Turkey are "just the tip of the iceberg." It said that sick people whose clinical symptoms and CT scans are suggestive of COVID-19 should be considered as coronavirus patients "until proven otherwise" with repeat tests.
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said that the practice of self-isolation is still "problematic" in Turkey's east and southeast. Reiterating the government's stance on the need for everyone to declare their own state of emergencies, Soylu noted that Turkey has been taking precautions against the virus at the highest level.