Turkish nurse dies of coronavirus, leaving newborn behind

A Turkish nurse lost her battle to the deadly coronavirus in Istanbul, leaving behind her infant son, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced on Monday.

Thirty-year-old Dilek Akçabelen was infected by the novel coronavirus while she was 34 weeks pregnant. Doctors delivered her baby via C-section and the nurse only saw her infant for a few seconds as she battled the deadly virus.

Akçabelen suffered coronavirus symptoms while she was on maternity leave. She was hospitalized on April 11, three days before her son was born.

The nurse remained in intensive care as her condition deteriorated and she eventually required a lung transplant.

“She put up a long fight. Unfortunately, she was defeated by COVID-19. I wish she could have seen her newborn for a longer time,” Koca said on Twitter as he delivered his condolences to her family members.

The 10-year employee of Mehmet Akif Ersoy Thoracic And Cardiovascular Surgery Training and Research Hospital in Istanbul was remembered in a ceremony at her workplace on Monday as Akçabelen’s colleagues paid a tearful tribute to the nurse.

Turkey recorded its first case of coronavirus on March 11 and the deadly virus has claimed the lives of 4,563.

Koca announced on Monday that 23 people had died of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours while 827 new cases had been reported during the same time span.

Turkey has registered 164,769 cases of the novel virus, the 10th highest in the world. But a continued downward trajectory in COVID-19 deaths and confirmed infections has led the country to ease pandemic measures.

On Monday, Turkish Airlines resumed limited domestic flights, restaurants welcomed sit-in customers and beaches and museums reopened after months of closure.