Health minister says Turkey at peak point of outbreak, as COVID-19 death toll rises to 3,081 – live blog

Turkey’s confirmed COVID-19 cases increased by 2,936 in the past 24 hours, and 89 more people have died from the coronavirus, raising the death toll to 3,081, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced on Wednesday.

The novel coronavirus death rate in Turkey dropped for intubated patients from 74 percent to 14 percent and from 58 percent to 10 percent for intensive care patients, Koca said during his daily Twitter briefing, which revealed 5,231 recoveries in the past day out of the total 44,022.

The official number of cases in Turkey stands at 117,589, the seventh highest total in the world.

Turkey is currently passing over the peak of the novel coronavirus pandemic but the drops in numbers must be consistent, the minister added.
“The number of recovered patients in Turkey in the past 24 hours reaches twice that of newly diagnosed patients,” Koca said.

Meanwhile, after years of troubled relations, Turkey extended a hand of friendship to the United States with a large shipment of medical supplies to help it fight the coronavirus pandemic, along with a letter from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump.

The aid package is the latest in Turkey’s round of medical diplomacy that Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu says has made the country the world’s top supplier of humanitarian aid and third supplier of medical aid, with shipments sent to more than 50 countries during the pandemic.


(Times Turkish GMT+3)

23:03 - Turkish Red Crescent blood supply reaches critical level as donors shrink

Kerem Kınık, the head of Turkish Red Crescent, said the blood stock reached critical levels due to the coronavirus outbreak, Diken news outlet reported.

Turkey's blood donors, which numbered around 9,000 daily, had fallen under 2,000 as the country remains under measures curbing the spread of COVID-19.

The current blood stock is around 50,000 units, half of what it is normally expected to be, Kınık said.

22:35 - Turkey may open schools in June, Education Minister says

Turkey's Education Minister Ziya Selçuk said the country might open the schools in June, T24 reported.

"If the normalisation process continues as expected, we open the schools on June 1," he said.

Education in Turkey continues with online and broadcast lessons.

22:00 - Almost 7,500 health personnel infected with novel coronavirus, health minister says

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said 7,458 healthcare workers had tested positive for COVID-19 across Turkey, Artı Gerçek reported.

"7,428 out of 1.1 million health workers. It makes nearly 6.5 percent of Turkey's confirmed cases," Koca said.

13:10 - Turkish industrial firms restart production

Turkish manufacturers that halted production due to the coronavirus pandemic are beginning to resume as the spread of the infection slows, Anadolu Agency said.

The state-run news agency quoted the Istanbul stock exchange’s public relations platform as saying that 16 listed companies will have restarted production by the end of May.

12:30 - Shops to remain open on first morning of weekend lockdown, Interior Ministry says

Shops will remain open on Friday morning in the 31 Turkish provinces that enter a three-day lockdown that day, the Interior Ministry said.

The markets, local convenience stores and grocers’ shops will remain open between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Friday but will then shut until Monday, the ministry said.

23:40 - Istanbul’s 2020 mortality rate nearly 50 percent higher than last three years, Imamoğlu says

There is an apparent increase in daily number of deaths in Istanbul, T24 reported, quoting Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoğlu as saying.

"Previous years’ daily death figures are on average 30-35 percent less than this year." Imamoglu said, this means on average the number of people died in previous years is about 100 people less than this year.

"When you look at this year's mortality rate and mortality rates of the last 2 to 3 years, there are 30 percent to 35 percent fewer deaths (before 2020)," Imamoğlu said in a live Halk TV broadcast.

He added that death certificates at the Istanbul Cemeteries Department were recorded as “infectious disease” or “natural causes”, and that the department could not find the deaths diagnosed with COVID-19.

22:15 - Turkish Airlines suspends all flights until May 28

Turkish Airlines extended its suspension of domestic and international flights until May 28, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

“In accordance with decisions taken by the official authorities, all flights have been suspended until May 28, 2020, in order to protect public health against the novel coronavirus pandemic,” Turkey’s national carrier said in a statement.

22:05 - No COVID-19 cases reported over last 10 days in Cyprus, Turkish Cypriot gov’t says

No new COVID-19 cases have been reported over the last ten days, Cumhuriyet reported, quoting the Turkish Cypriot’s health minister as saying.

“There have been no positive cases in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus for the past ten days,” Ali Pilli said, adding it did not mean the novel coronavirus has been contained in the island.