Turkey will establish two hospitals with a capacity of 1,000 beds each in Istanbul — the epicenter of coronavirus cases in the country — to treat patients infected with the disease, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on April 6.
“We will complete them (the two hospitals) within 45 days and will open them to public service,” Erdoğan said in a televised speech following chairing a cabinet meeting via video conference.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said last week that about 60 percent of the cases in Turkey were registered in the country’s largest city, Istanbul.
Erdoğan said one of the hospitals will be built on the area where the-now closed Atatürk Airport is located on the European side, and the other one in the district of Sancaktepe on the Asian side.
He said that Turkish health care system surpassed the “important threshold” of 20,000 daily coronavirus tests.
“We don’t have any issues on diagnosis and treatment in our hospitals. Thankfully, we’ve so far not encountered any significant issues in terms of health services, food and sanitation supplies and public safety,” he said.
Erdoğan said the virus had spread from people who had a travel history of either European countries or the United States and accused these countries of having undertaken precautionary measures too late.
“The fact that those infected with the virus have a travel history of Europe and the United States shows that they [countries] have not taken precautions. If they had shown the sensitivity that we are showing, we could have been at a much better situation,” he said.
Referring to a recent decision to distribute medical masks to people between the ages of 20 and 65 free-of-charge, Erdoğan said local officials had already begun distribution efforts.
On April 4, the government made mask usage mandatory in crowded public places, in public transport, grocery stores and workplaces to contain the virus.
“We have enough mask stock and production plans for all of our citizens until the outbreak ends. As the state, we are determined to provide free masks to all our citizens,” Erdoğan said.
The president also said that the National Solidarity Campaign, which was launched last week to raise money for low-income families hit by the virus, has so far received 1.5 billion Liras (approximately $220 million).
“We started preparations to deliver aid to 2.3 million more households,” he said.
Turkey’s death toll from the coronavirus rose by 75 on April 6 to total 649, and new confirmed cases rose by 3,148 to bring the country’s total to 30,217.