Turkey and the COVID-19 Success Story

The Republic of Turkey reports the lowest ratio of death per case, as being the 9th country with the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the world. Health professionals say that the effective treatment methods and successful health care system has paved the way for success. Turkey’s practices are poised to set an example for the world to fight the pandemics that we may encounter in future.

Turkey has marked itself as a successful country in reporting the lowest ratio of death per case compared to the top 10 European countries with a high number of COVID-19 cases. Though the country secures 9th place in the world in the number of coronavirus cases, still the number of deaths remains low as Germany and South Korea.

The Republic of Turkey is one of the first countries to take precautions as soon as the first case was reported in Wuhan, China. Immediate isolation facilities were made even before the country reported any number of COVID-19 cases. 

Following the detection of the first case on March 11th, the government imposed a curfew in two steps. First for those who are 65 and older, then for those younger than 20. According to statistics, the elderly population in Turkey are lower than the other highly affected European countries. International professionals claim that the elderly population being below the world average level could also be a reason for low death rates as they are recognized as the highest risk group. The curfew was also imposed on weekends regularly to combat the spread of the coronavirus. 

Schools, places of worship, cafes and restaurants were closed and many businesses switched to part-time. In the meantime, schools in Turkey were used as mask producing centres and the country even distributed masks to the US, Italy, Spain and Britain. 

As a country with a great deal of experience in intensive care, the government of Turkey started building new hospitals during the outbreak, further improving the intensive care unit and hospital bed facilities to ensure that the facilities wouldn’t run short when the number of cases increases.

For the case detection process, the number of tests was increased and even if a person reported negative for Covid-19, they were diagnosed with tomography and treated. Also, the country has a good tracking system to find out the individuals who were in contact with positive patients. Medications were used as early as possible to ensure effective treatment methods for all patients. 

Some of the experts say that the use of BCG (Bacillus Calmette Guerin) vaccine, which is a mandatory vaccine in Turkey to prevent Tuberculosis could also be the reason to lower death rates. Even though, scientifically not proven the health experts highlight the vaccine could have been acting as a protective agent against the new novel coronavirus.

On April 14th, the head of the Turkish Ministry of Health, Fehrettin Koca announced that Turkey has reached its peak in the fourth week, in the number of positive cases of Covid-19, surpassing Iran making it the country with the highest number of cases in the Middle East. The rapid increase in the number of cases did not overburden the health care system of the country, instead it helped them achieve a low death rate.

On May 20th, the number of cases reported per day in turkey has dropped below 1000, for the first time since March 25th. “The world does not yet know when the outbreak will end. But in Turkey, we have seen the results of our measures, turkey succeeded in the first phase of the fight against coronavirus, it will succeed in this phase as well” says the Health minister of Turkey, Fahrettin Koca.

With 154k number of cases and 4276 deaths, the people of Turkey still adhere to the preventive measures against coronavirus. And the country has reported a downward trajectory in Covid-19 deaths and number of confirmed cases over the past few days.

To prevent the second wave of infection the government has taken commendable measures too. The health minister started the concept of controlled health tourism in Ankara with 31 countries on Wednesday. Further, the minister emphasized the charter flights will be arranged on demand. 

According to the Health Minister of Turkey, The government has distributed posters listed with rules to minimize the spread of the coronavirus infection among Turkish businesses men. Further, the mobile app designed by the health ministry to track inter-city travel enables the citizens to travel within the country after using the code from the app to show that they are not sick or carrying the virus. The app tracks and ensures that the virus spread is minimal.

During the past weekends, the country opted for partial lockdowns by imposing it on major cities and national holidays. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that he hopes the upcoming nationwide lockdown during the Muslim holiday of Eid-al-Fitr from May 23-26 would be the final round.

The exemplary strategies by Turkey to combat the virus, leave us on the question, on how our countries are responding to the situation and are we ready to encounter a future pandemic.

By Jumana Jabeer

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