Erdoğan noncompliant with mask safety, death toll rises -Turkey coronavirus roundup

Turkey sees 62 deaths, 27,628 active COVID-19 cases on Friday

Sixty two people died between Thursday and Friday evenings due to the COVID-19 coronavirus in Turkey, while 1,771 new cases were diagnosed, according to the daily figures the Health Ministry announced on a COVID-19 dedicated website.

Turkey's coronavirus figures for Sept. 18
Turkey's coronavirus figures for Sept. 18, source: http://covid19.saglik.gov.tr/

 

Total number of infections since the coronavirus was first seen in the country in mid-March is edging on 300,000, and a total of 7,377 people have died after contracting COVID-19. There are a total of 27,628 active cases still in the country, up from almost four-digit levels before Turkey eased pandemic restrictions to avoid further damage to its economy and tourism industry on June 1.

Meanwhile, the Presidential Communications Directorate announced that global COVID-19 infections had surpassed 30,590,000 cases.


#NoFilter masks in Turkey - 95 percent of mask on market inadequate for COVID-19

A Turkish news anchor demonstrated the lack of filtration capacity in several masks produced in Turkey on air on Thursday, by cutting up several brands and inspecting the material.

Finance news network Ekotürk’s Ali Çağatay said the majority of masks produced in the country only used two or three plies of spunbond fabric, which lets through particles much bigger than the coronavirus.

The material that has the ability to filter out the coronavirus, sized at approximately 10 nm, is what is called a meltblown fabric, not found in the majority of masks on the market.

Erkan İşgören, faculty member at Marmara University’s Textile Engineering Department had told finance news network Ekotürk earlier in the week that 75 percent of all masks manufactured in Turkey in April had not been up to code for surgical masks, and that the rate shot up to 95 percent in September.

Another issue with mask production in Turkey is that there are no clean room practices, the scholar said. As a result, Turks are exposed to risk of infection even if they wear masks, and Turkey’s exports are stuck at border gates as they fail to pass inspection in European countries.

İşgören was among the experts who signed off on an April 14 report presented to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that said 90 percent of some 35 million masks produced in the country had been contaminated.

The Health Ministry to date has been permissive, but will probably crackdown on three-ply spunbond masks “in a few weeks,” he told Ekotürk, adding that there may come a presidential order to facilitate the call back of all the non-compliant masks in the market.


Erdoğan hands potentially contaminated mask to aide during speech

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was seen taking off his mask without sanitising his hands, and handing it over to Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun, before his speech on Friday.

Altun took the mask without gloves on, and was not seen sanitising his hands afterwards either.

In his speech, Erdoğan said Turkey would have to implement strict measures again in coming days because “our people unfortunately did not seriously heed our warnings.”

The government has become more strict regarding measures taken on public transport, restaurants, and parties like weddings and engagements, the president said.

“We do not do these things because we enjoy them,” he said. “We do so because we are sensitive to our people.”


Turkey’s doctors ‘as dangerous as corona’ - Erdoğan ally

The Turkish Medical Association (TTB), the top professional body for Turkey’s doctors, is as dangerous as the coronavirus, said on Friday Devlet Bahçeli, leader of a far-right party and junior coalition partner to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

“The TTB must be shut down urgently,” the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader told reporters. “Administrators of this union must be held to account. They are as dangerous as the coronavirus.”

Turkey’s doctors and nurses are spending an extraordinary amount of effort to tackle the worsening pandemic, Bahçeli said, and the government is fighting tooth and nail against it.

“As Turkey goes through such a fragile time, what good is it to put on a black ribbon?” Bahçeli asked, referring to the silent protest ribbons doctors have donned this week to draw attention to the spike in medical professional deaths due to COVID-19.

Earlier in the week, Bahçeli had tweeted out a similar sentiment, saying the deaths were TTB’s responsibility. “Why do they need such dark and purposeful actions?” he asked in the press event on Friday.