Istanbul doctors say colleagues dying, COVID-19 data a ‘big lie’

The Istanbul Medical Chamber (ITO) held a press briefing on Tuesday in front of the body’s central office where they criticised the official government statistics on COVID-19, independent news agency Bianet reported.

Pınar Saip, ITO chairwoman,Istanbul Medical Chamber Chairperson., board members and medical workers attended the announcement, where the life of their collague Salih Kanlı, who died from COVID-19 on Oct. 17 was commemorated. 

The medical workers opened a banner which read "They can tell success stories all they want, we are dying."

Osman Öztürk, an Executive Board member of the ITO, said that "Coronavirus has now turned into a mistreatment of healthcare workers in Turkey," He criticised the "wrong policies and wrong practices" of the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) which “claims the lives of health workers."

While medical workers are dying, Öztürk said that the government “are telling success stories, they are giving numbers every evening; however, no one believes the numbers they give. All these numbers are a big lie. We know the truth."

According to the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), 120 healthcare workers, including 52 doctors have died from COVID-19 in Turkey.

Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca acknowledged on Sept. 30 that data published by the ministry is only partial, and does not include asymptomatic patients who tested positive but were not being treated in hospital.

The TBB has complained that medical staff who post information about cases of COVID-19 on social media are facing harassment and intimidation by the authorities.