Turkey's healthcare workers die due to lack of COVID-19 gears – top medical association

The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) Chairman Sinan Adıyaman said on Wednesday Turkish healthcare workers were being infected with the novel coronavirus due to the lack of provision of correct protective equipment, Mezopotamya news agency reported.

"Protecting the well-being of healthcare professionals is essential to obstruct the epidemic. Unfortunately, the Health Ministry has not entered an epidemic period prepared in terms of personal protective equipment stock and management," Adıyaman said during a press conference.

Professional medical groups have also been voicing a shortfall in equipment, beds and health staff needed to deal with high numbers of coronavirus patients, which have now reached over 65,000.

Lack of protective equipment raises the risks that family doctors who treat people with the coronavirus could then pass it on to other patients, Adıyaman said.

One of the major factors that contribute to the pandemic in Turkey, one of the world’s fasting growing outbreaks of COVID-19, is the continuing manufacturing operations in non-vital sectors, according to Adıyaman.

"Non-compulsory production causes loss of more lives and the outbreak to grow," he said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has avoided imposing a full nationwide lockdown during the pandemic, despite growing calls from several professional associations.