Despite New York City being currently one of the world's worst coronavirus hotspots, Turkey's national flag carrier Turkish Airlines has not suspended its flights from the U.S. city. A U.S.-based Turkish academic has called on the authorities to tackle this issue and to find those who arrived from New York City to Istanbul in the last two weeks to place them under quarantine.
Turkish schools will remain closed until April 30 due to coronavirus pandemic and will continue to offer remote learning from home for students during this time period, said Education Minister Ziya Selçuk.
A Russian Navy cargo ship transited the Bosphorus Strait en route to Syria on March 24. The Russian Dvinitsa-50 ship, part of Moscow’s auxiliary fleet, was carrying at least three military ambulances along with a shipping container on its deck.
Turkey’s financial “shield package” against the blow of the coronavirus might be forcing small businesses into more debt. Turkey’s preventative measures will allow for 100 billion Turkish Liras’ worth of loans and debts to be deferred with interest for three months.
A Fenerbahçe football player and Medipol Başakşehir chair Göksel Gümüşdağ tested positive for coronavirus on March 25. "Our players, technical staff and administrative employees underwent coronavirus tests in Samandıra Can Bartu Facility. One footballer and medical team worker were tested positive and were dispatched to a hospital for treatment," Fenerbahçe said in a statement without giving the names of those diagnosed.
The southeastern border province of Mardin is lacking precautions against the coronavirus, particularly among the trade workers who regularly travel across the Turkish border, the local medical chamber co-chair said. “As far as we know, we have about 500 residents under home quarantine right now, most of them drivers,” Dr. Osman Sağlam said.
Prof. Luca Lorini from Bergamo's Pope John XXIII Hospital urged Turkish people to ask the government for the declaration of a curfew in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). "Ask the government to declare a curfew immediately without waiting. Just like we did 15 days ago. The numbers have been decreasing for two days. This is the best medicine against the virus," Lorini said.
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.