Erdoğan says Turkey to overcome COVID-19 after cases surge to record

Turkey will defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sunday, after daily infections surged to a record of over 50,000.

“Turkey will overcome the pandemic as a stronger country,” Erdoğan said at an event in Istanbul, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

COVID-19 cases hit a daily 50,678 on Sunday, increasing the total number of reported infections in the country of 85 million to 3.84 million, the Health Ministry  said. It reported 237 new fatalities, pushing up the death toll to 33,939.

Infections in Turkey have surged after the authorities eased restrictions on the population on March 1, when daily cases stood at less than 10,000. The government has reintroduced some of the measures ahead of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, which begins on April 13.

Intensive care units at many hospitals across the country are full, Milliyet newspaper said on Monday, citing Necmettin Ünal, a professor at Ankara University Intensive Care Department. Official data puts the number of COVID-19 patients in critical condition at 2,824.

“There are nearly 600 intensive care patients in two pandemic hospitals in Istanbul alone,” Ünal said. “The rate of intubated patients among hospitalised cases is very high. High intubation means a high mortality rate.”

Forty percent of the total registered cases in Turkey are in Istanbul, the country’s most populated city, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Friday after meeting with Istanbul provincial health administrators.

“The situation in Istanbul determines the situation of the country. If we can protect Istanbul, we will be able to protect our country,” Koca said via his Twitter account.