Adverts offering COVID-19 testing that yields results in three hours have been circulating Turkish capital Ankara as the city observed a spike in daily diagnoses and deaths. Meanwhile, legitimate laboratories say that no such test exists.
The recent resignation of two officials from Turkey's Health Ministry has raised questions as to whether they are related to the approval and purchase of a COVID-19 test that was said to identify only 40 percent of positive cases. "The ministry has not responded to any of their questions on this topic," said main opposition CHP deputy Murat Emir.
Felicity Party (Saadet) deputy Abdulkadir Karaduman said on July 20 that he was admitted to the hospital for COVID-19. The deputy marks the fifth infection among Turkey's lawmakers.
Turkey's Presidency mandated that everyone who will attend the July 15, 2016 coup attempt memorial ceremony be tested for COVID-19. One politician noted that none of the deputies are tested for general sessions and that the precaution is required for being in the president's presence.
A new testing center in Istanbul Airport will offer all passengers COVID-19 tests for 110 Turkish Liras each (about $16). The center's capacity is an hourly 2,000.
Muhammet Emin Akbaşoğlu, the group deputy chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), is the fourth Turkish lawmaker whose coronavirus test came back positive. Last week, the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) had announced that three of its deputies tested positive for the virus, without disclosing the identities of the MPs.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that young men getting drafted for military service would receive COVID-19 tests. The minister added that depending on their test results, 182,000 young men would become eligible for deployment.
No need to build new pandemic hospitals in Turkey if the footsteps of Germany and South Korea followed
Sinem Sönmez writes: It’s the combination of a lockdown and mass testing that is most effective in controlling the spread of the coronavirus and flattening of the curve. If Turkey follows the footsteps of Germany and South Korea by carrying out mass COVID-19 testing to isolate the carriers of this virus, there would be no need to build new hospitals to accommodate new COVID-19 patients.
Some 39 percent of health workers in Turkey haven't been tested for COVID-19, a union report revealed. Less than ten percent of hospitals conducted testing to scan workers, while only two percent conduct routine testing.
Two health workers in Izmir conducted COVID-19 tests to citizens on the street in a district they were sent to for work, reportedly without the orders or permission of the Izmir Health Directorate. The two rogue workers tested some 100 people.
The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) has said that the official coronavirus case numbers in Turkey are "just the tip of the iceberg." It said that sick people whose clinical symptoms and CT scans are suggestive of COVID-19 should be considered as coronavirus patients "until proven otherwise" with repeat tests.
To what extent the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests produced locally in Turkey are reliable has become a major topic of curiosity following the death of retired general Aytaç Yalman. Yalman had tested negative for coronavirus only to subsequently test positive for it. According to doctor Kurt Azap, negative results also have to be confirmed for their accuracy.
İrfan Aktan writes: Emrah Altındiş, an Assistant Professor at Boston College and an adjunct faculty at Harvard Medical School, warns that a “tsunami” is headed towards Turkey. Altındiş argues that Turkey was not taking the necessary precautions to slow its spread. According to Altındiş, the cities with high numbers of infected people should be on lockdown.
Gökçe Başbuğ writes: That the coronavirus first became an epidemic in East Asia gave other countries time to prepare. However, it is clear that this time was not used wisely. Unfortunately, while travel bans and city quarantines were imposed, aggressive testing methods were not developed, and the public was not informed in a transparent manner. Fortunately, it is still possible for countries like Turkey that are at the beginning of this process to learn lessons from South Korea's experience and take steps accordingly.
The president of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), Sinan Adıyaman, has said that the association has been receiving unconfirmed information that the number of coronavirus patients in Turkey is much higher than 18. He also called on the Heath Ministry to increase the number of health centers performing coronavirus tests.