Early-stage treatment effective in Turkey's pandemic battle - health minister

Turkey is using model that includes hospital monitoring of symptoms and early stage treatment that has proven to be very effective in battling the coronavirus pandemic, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

Turkish doctors do not advise people with COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, store throat and coughing, to take antipyretics and stay at home, rather facilitating their stay at hospitals with the immediate treatment through chloroquine while waiting on test results, Koca told Hürriyet newspaper.

Despite having over 110,00 coronaivurs cases, the seventh highest in the world, Turkey is registering a decline in new diagnoses amid increased testing. Meanwhile, the country’s death rate has remained fairly steady for over a week as it records an increasing number of recoveries from COVID-19. 

Turkey uses an antibiotic called azithromycin alongside chloroquine in the early stages of the treatment, the Turkish heath minister said.

Koca also pointed to use of a drug called favipiravir, first  used by China for the intubated patients, but used by Turkish doctors widely and in the early stage of the treatment.

Another method employed by Turkey in early stages of treatment is high-pressure oxygen therapy, which Koca maintains reduced the number of deaths due to respiratory failure.

One last method employed by health officials in treating COVID-19 in Turkey has been lying patients with serious respiratory problems face down on their beds.

“We have been using this very simple method since the start of the outbreak’’ Koca said, noting that other countries followed suit in employing the approach.