COVID-19 pandemic in Turkey

The COVID-19 pandemic in Turkey is part of the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first case in Turkey was recorded on 11 March, when a local returned home from a trip to Europe. The first death due to COVID-19 in the country occurred on 15 March. Turkey stood out from the rest of Europe by not ordering a legal lockdown until April 2021, when the country enacted its first nationwide restrictions. The government kept many businesses open, and allowed companies to set their own guidelines regarding workers.The resulting wave of infections never came close to overwhelming the Turkish health system, which has the highest number of intensive care units in the world at 46.5 beds per 100,000 people (compared to 9.6 in Greece, 11.6 in France, and 12.6 in Italy). As of 3 May 2021, Turkey's observed case-fatality rate stands at 0.84%, the 148th highest rate globally. This low case-fatality rate has generated various explanations including the relative rarity of nursing homes, favorable demographics, long legacy of contact tracing, high number of intensive care units, universal health care, and a lockdown regime that led to a higher proportion of positive cases among working-age adults.On 30 September 2020, Turkish Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca acknowledged that since 29 July, the reported number of cases was limited to symptomatic cases that required monitoring, which was met with rebuke by the Turkish Medical Association. This practice ended on 25 November, when the ministry started to report asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic cases alongside symptomatic ones.


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