Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca reported the country’s first death from coronavirus late on March 17.
The victim was a 89-year-old male who had contracted the virus from an employee in contact with China, Koca said during a press conference.
“People that are most severely affected by this disease are those with weak immune system and those that have other illnesses. The elderly should be very cautious…I will give you a very saddening news. For the first time, I have lost a [coronavirus] patient,” Koca said.
Koca also said the number of coronavirus cases in Turkey rose to 98, with 51 new cases confirmed.
“We had previously said that with the precautions we have taken, we have managed to resist [the spread of the virus] for 90 days…When the humanity is in such a picture, it was impossible for Turkey to stay in isolation, which has many relations with the world,” he said.
Turkey confirmed its first case of the coronavirus early on March 11, becoming the last major economy to report an outbreak after taking what the World Health Organization (WHO) described as “vigilant, cautious” measures to delay the disease.
Since then, the government has taken a series of precautions against the spread of the virus, including shutting down schools, universities, bars, nightclubs, cinemas, cafes, spas, amusement parks and swimming pools.