A minibus driver in Turkey’s capital has dressed his vehicle in a surgical mask to draw attention to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The driver covered the bus’ front bumper in a white cloth that he attached to the side mirrors.
HDP deputy Meral Danış Beştaş was criticized for not imposing quarantine on herself upon returning from Germany on March 8. "From what we see on social media, Beştaş returned from Germany and her quarantine period is ongoing under normal circumstances," AKP Group Deputy Chair Cahit Özkan said in parliament. "Yes, I went to Germany and came back. All the necessary tests were carried out at the airport, my health is perfectly fine. If there were problems, I wouldn't jeopardize my friends and the society," Beştaş said in return.
Turkey’s traditional lemon-scented cologne will now be subject to pre-approval by the Trade Ministry in an attempt to ensure domestic supplies of the alcohol-based disinfectant amid the coronavirus outbreak. Disinfectants, ethyl alcohol and hydrogen peroxide will also require ministry approval prior to export, the official gazette said March 18.
Istanbul turning into a ghost town as Turks resort to social distancing due to rise of coronavirus cases
As the number of coronavirus cases in Turkey continues to rise daily, it is nearly impossible to see people on some of Istanbul's most crowded streets. Every time someone coughs or sneezes they are looked upon with anger, and shops are closing their doors one by one. Duvar correspondents Filiz Gazi and Hacı Bişkin report.
A total of 28 pilgrims were caught in the Central Anatolian province of Çorum after escaping from coronavirus quarantine. "We sent them to the quarantine areas in [the Central Anatolian province of] Konya and [the capital] Ankara. There are those who manage to avoid quarantine. Our citizens should let us know if they witness such an incident," Erzurum Governor Okay Memiş said.
As the number of people who test positive for the coronavirus increases and the country records its first virus-related death, Turkey is running out testing kits. In Istanbul, only four hospitals can currently provide the tests.
Four more Taiwanese citizens returning from Turkey tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the number of cases among a group of 15 returning to Taiwan from Turkey to nine, Taiwanese Health Minister Shih-Chung said March 17. “The risk of contracting the coronavirus in Turkey is high,” Shih-Chung noted.
The evacuation of a total of 2,807 Turkish citizens from Germany, Spain, France, Austria, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands was completed, Vice President Fuat Oktay said. "All measures for their health, safety, nutrition, and accommodation have been taken in line with the rules set by the Health Ministry and Science Board," he said.
A shopkeeper in Istanbul's historic Grand Bazaar was reportedly the first person to be diagnosed with the novel coronavirus in Turkey. A video on social media showed two healthcare workers in medical gears talking to two shopkeepers. "You know, the first case is from here and it has been increasing. It was here, in your bazaar," one of the healthcare workers says in the video.
Turkey's Health Minister Fahrettin Koca late on March 17 reported the country's first death from coronavirus. Koca also said that the number of coronavirus cases in the country rose to 98, with 51 new cases confirmed.
A top Chinese official said on March 17 that China has completed the clinical research of ‘Favipiravir’ – an antiviral drug that has shown good clinical efficacy against the novel coronavirus. Zhang Xinmin said that patients who were given Favipiravir reported positive results after four days of treatment.
Ali Babacan, the chairman of DEVA, has shared a series of proposals on what the gov't should do to limit the negative financial effects of the novel coronavirus on businesses and citizens. “Every kind of employment incentive should be utilized as soon as possible. Unemployment funds are for these days,” he said.
The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) has voiced concern about the availability of masks and other protective equipment against the coronavirus outbreak at health centers. TTB head Adıyaman said there are hospitals that have only a week's supply of masks and gloves left.
Turkey's presidential communications director, Fahrettin Altun, on March 17 denied rumors circulating on social media that a state of emergency or curfew will be imposed amid coronavirus concerns.
AKP Istanbul deputy Ahmet Hamdi Çamlı has advised people under self-imposed quarantine to "reproduce," referring to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's repeated suggestion of having at least three children. "Our President has been reminding and encouraging the people to have three children regarding the population issue that's inclining towards decreasing. Corona, that seems to be a malice, will contribute to prosperity and goodness," Çamlı tweeted on March 17.