Turkey to report asymptomatic cases as infections double across 15 provinces

(Updated with total registered cases on Wednesday)

Turkey is registering an increase in coronavirus infections in nearly every province, and the Health Ministry will become more transparent in its data, including non-symptomatic patients in its daily reports, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Wednesday.

The upward trajectory trend that began in Turkey’s western provinces has now spread to the entire country with İstanbul, Bursa, Kocaeli, İzmir now experiencing their third wave, T24 news site cited Koca as saying in a press statement following a meeting with the ministry’s pandemic scientific committee.

"The number of cases has increased by 50 percent in 15 provinces over the last week," the country’s health official said. 

"From now on, we will reveal all asymptomatic COVID-19 cases in (the ministry’s) daily briefing as the daily tests reach 200,000," Koca added.

Medical organisations have long accused the government of concealing the true scale of Turkey’s COVID-19 outbreak over its reporting policy. 

"Our citizens want to be informed of all positive cases, including those under surveillance at home. All of these are recorded in our system … we are going to list asymptomatic positive cases in our daily table, too," Koca said. 

The minister's remarks arrived as Turkey on Wednesday registered 7,381 new patients and 161 deaths linked to the deadly virus, maintaining an upward trajectory and registering record-breaking figures.

Koca urged citizens to abide closely by hygiene and social distancing measures.

Koca also said Turkey had registered a total of 28,351 new cases in the past 24 hours and it would be "inevitable’’ to implement stronger restrictions if current measures fail to prove effective.

Turkey on Saturday is set to enter its second weekend in partial lockdown from 8 p.m. to 10 a.m. in a bid to stem the spread of the virus.