Turkey’s death toll from the coronavirus rose by 23 to total 4,222 and new confirmed cases rose by 972 to bring the country’s total to 152,587, Health Ministry data showed on May 20.
“The number of our patients that we have lost has also decreased today. We will now fight the virus more freely, by now changing the conditions. Our new life style is: Controlled Social Life and [taking measures] all together. Its condition is: mask + a social distance of 1.5 meters,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca wrote on his Twitter account.
Turkey opens doors to 31 countries for health tourism
The Health Ministry data were revealed shortly after Koca said during a press conference that Turkey does not risk a second wave of infections from the virus at the moment and it was preparing to start controlled “medical tourism” with 31 countries as of May 20.
“If we continue to abide by the rules of social distancing, wearing a mask and a limited social life, then we don’t see a risk of second wave,” Koca said.
“Like the rest of the world, we are also monitoring actively such a risk around September or October. But we are in a position to take necessary measures in the case of a second wave,” he said.
Koca said Turkey was starting medical tourism season with 31 countries where the risk of pandemic is lower, despite a lack of international flights.
“If necessary, and if there is demand, we will organize charter flights for medical tourism,” Koca said, adding that the tourists would be tested for the virus upon arrival.
Koca also said that the virus reproduction rate, indicated by the R0 number, currently stands at 0.72. “I can say that the figure known as R0 or R is currently 0.72. This is a figure showing that the reproduction rate [of the virus] is gradually decreasing day by day and the number of new cases is continuing to decrease,” he said.
An R0 of 1 means that each person infected with the virus is passing it on to one other person. If the figure is at exactly 1, the total number of infections should remain steady. At lower levels, infections should decrease, while figures even slightly above 1 can spiral into an exponential spread if left unchecked.