Rapid tests not as reliable as Polmyerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests but still useful, Turkish experts agree
Turkish excerpts agree that while rapid testing kits for coronavirus can be faulty at times, they are a good tool to allow healthcare workers to prioritize patients for the diagnostic test. The antibody test is more reliable, however, it takes five to six days after infection for the antibodies to appear in the patient’s bloodstream and for them to test positive.
A study carried out by Veloxity shows a significant correlation between the socioeconomic status of the people in Istanbul and their levels of self-isolation. Veloxity said that the districts that stayed at home due to the coronavirus outbreak the most were Kadıköy, Ataşehir, Çamlıca, Fatih, Ataköy, Bakırköy, Florya, Etiler and Şişli - districts with higher socioeconomic status.
Hotels in the metropolis Istanbul and the capital Ankara will be hosting healthcare workers for free, they said March 24. The five-star The Marmara on Istanbul's central Taksim Square will welcome workers from two nearby hospitals, Independent Turkish reported.
Murat Yetkin writes: Both the Ministry of Health and the members of the scientific committee failed to convince President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a country-wide lockdown to slow down the spread of the coronavirus in Turkey. Furthermore, rumor has it that Koca’s press conference on March 23 was penned with annexes from the speechwriters of the Presidential Palaces, as well as certain penitentiaries in Istanbul.
Turkish health, education ministers to make joint statement on whether school break will be extended
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca and Education Minister Ziya Selçuk will make a joint statement at 7:15 p.m. on March 25 following a meeting of the Health Ministry's Science Commission, which will discuss the issue of whether to extend the school break or not. A day earlier, Erdoğan said that they should act in accordance with the recommendations of the Science Commission.
In a memorandum that was sent to all of Turkey's 81 provinces, the Ministry of Health has suspended non-emergency surgeries and has requested that those coming to Turkey from a number of countries for the purpose of health tourism postpone their visits.
To what extent the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests produced locally in Turkey are reliable has become a major topic of curiosity following the death of retired general Aytaç Yalman. Yalman had tested negative for coronavirus only to subsequently test positive for it. According to doctor Kurt Azap, negative results also have to be confirmed for their accuracy.
Dr. Kutbettin Demir, Board Chairman of Istanbul Family Practitioners Association, has said that 24 family practitioners and nurses in various districts of Istanbul tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). "A couple of our friends are receiving treatment at hospitals, while the rest are continuing their treatments at home. There is nothing to worry about in terms our friends' health conditions," Demir told daily Milliyet on March 25.
More Turkish residents aged 18 to 35 are worried about losing their jobs than they are about the coronavirus, a survey conducted by private pollsters. Some 68 percent said they are worried about unemployment, while 63 percent said they are worried about the pandemic.
Turkey’s death toll from coronavirus rose by seven to 44 as the number of cases surged to 1,872, Health Minister Koca said on March 24. Of the latest seven victims, one had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (known as COPD), while the other six were elderly patients, Koca said.
Turkish women organizations serving domestic violence victims have said that their helplines have had more calls since people began staying at home to stop the spread of the coronavirus. They have called on the government officials to remind the public that domestic violence victims will be protected no matter what the current agenda of the country is.
Despite Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca's statement that 500,000 locally-manufactured coronavirus test kits have been exported to the U.S., Turkish surgeon Ergin Koçyıldırım said there was not a single health institution in the country using these tests for diagnostic purposes. The surgeon said he had consulted the country's two main public health institutions responsible for protecting the nation's health regarding this issue -- the CDC and FDA.
Police seized some one million counterfeit masks in a raid in Istanbul's Sultanbeyli district on March 24. Upon receiving a tip on a group producing masks without a permit from the Health Ministry and under unsanitary conditions, police units raided an apartment in the district and detained five people.
Novel coronavirus drugs from China were distributed to 40 cities across Turkey via air ambulances to be used for patients in intensive care units. "The drugs that reached the Ankara late at night were distributed to 40 cities via air ambulances. The new drugs will be used for COVID-19 patients being treated in intensive care units," Minister Koca said in a written statement, adding that the effect of the drugs will be clear in the upcoming days.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has held a video conference with ministers, including Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, to discuss the recent developments on the country's struggle against the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Soylu told Erdoğan that the use of public transportation in 15 metropolises decreased by 80 percent between March 1 and 23.