Fifteen pct of Turkey’s primary care physicians have had COVID-19 - report

(Updates with comments from Health Minister)

One out of every seven family physicians at Turkey’s primary healthcare centres has contracted the coronavirus since the pandemic began last March, the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) found.

In primary care facilities, 68 percent of medical staff have contracted the virus to date, apart from the doctors, according to a January survey run by the TTB with 997 physicians in 69 of Turkey’s 81 provinces.

According to the survey results, the number of daily diagnoses started a downward trend but was still quite high, at an average of 9,500 cases diagnosed every day. Case numbers have declined by a quarter in almost every major city.

Contact tracing has declined, with units reaching one contacted person per patient in January, as opposed to three per patient before.

Only 15 percent of family physicians reported that their facilities were suitable to keep up the cold storage chain required by vaccines, while half reported inadequate supporting staff and 27 percent said they couldn’t administer more than 20 doses of vaccine a day.

On Thursday, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said Turkey received the second part of the first shipment of vaccines from China, completing the first order of 10 million doses.

The Health Ministry announced 131 COVID-19 deaths and 7,576 new cases and patients on Friday There are 89,985 active cases in the country, according to ministry figures.

Turkey's coronavirus figures for Jan. 29
Turkey's coronavirus figures for Jan. 29 Source:

Since vaccination began on Jan. 14, Turkey has administered 1,927,583 doses of the CoronaVac vaccines by China’s SinoVac.

Speaking to reporters after Friday prayers, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey had “some negative developments regarding the mutation, that is true,” regarding a more contagious strain of the coronavirus that appeared in Britain and South Africa and has spread to several European countries already.

On Friday evening, Koca urged caution against the mutation, and said 128 patients had been diagnosed with the new strain of the coronavirus, which has been detected in 17 provinces to date.