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“The panic about coronavirus is unfounded,” said Prof. Tevfik Özlü from Turkey’s Health Ministry’s Corona Science Committee on March 13.

“The data is promising. They show that the fear isn’t realistic,” Özlü said at the 2020 National Lung Health Congress held in the Mediterranean province of Antalya.

More than 80 percent of patients have mild symptoms, Özlü noted, adding that the majority of the remaining 20 percent also recover completely after being hospitalized.

The lack of a cure doesn’t mean that the virus isn’t treatable, Özlü said.

Turkey has had two confirmed cases of coronavirus as of March 13. Elementary, middle and high schools have been suspended for a week starting on March 16, and higher education was paused for three weeks.

First official case in Turkey changes protocol

Before the announcement of the first coronavirus-positive patient in Turkey, only those who returned from countries with the coronavirus within the last 14 days were tested.

“Now, everyone who’s been abroad in the past 14 days and show symptoms will be tested, regardless of the country they traveled to,” Özlü said.

People who had been in contact with suspected patients will also be placed under observation, Özlü added.

Tests are reportedly being processed as we speak at laboratories in Ankara and Istanbul and labs in the Mediterranean province of Adana, the Black Sea province Samsun, the Aegean province İzmir and the southeastern Erzurum can only conduct tests if necessary.

Özlü said that the presence of a few cases in Turkey doesn’t constitute an epidemic.

“The patient had been in foreign country. There’s no data that show the virus spreading in the population,” Özlü said.

He further added that the delay in the introduction of the virus to Turkey had allowed for preparations to be completed.