Circular issued by Ankara Provincial Health Directorate reveals Turkish government’s unreliable data on COVID-19 cases

As the ruling Justice and Development Party in Turkey started ‘normalization’ measures for the sake of capitalist class, the Ankara Provincial Health Directorate issued a circular for the hospitals in the Turkish capital, revealing an explosion in the COVID-19 caseloads in the province
Friday, 07 August 2020 14:58

The early ‘‘normalization’’ decision taken by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to protect the interests of Turkey’s capitalist class amid the still-continuing COVID-19 pandemic at full pelt as of June 1 has caused the pandemic to get out of control after loosening the measures. 

A circular sent by the Ankara Provincial Health Directorate to the hospitals in Turkey’s capital revealed that there is an explosion in caseloads in Ankara and the health infrastructure was collapsing due to the increasing COVID-19 cases, indicating a return to the initial stages of the pandemic measures in the hospitals.

Emphasizing the expectations of a second wave of the pandemic expressed by experts in the recent days, the government authorities asked the hospitals to spare at least 50 percent of the number of hospital beds and all idle intensive care beds for Covid-19 patients.

The circular also requested to delay all non-urgent elective surgical operations and elective internal hospitalizations until the further notice.

Speaking on the controversial steps taken by the Turkish government for the normalization that harms the fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, Prof. Dr. Vedat Bulut, the Head of the Ankara Chamber of Medicine, warned that the COVID-19 cases in the country have been increasing and intensive care units are facing serious difficulties.

Noting that there are one thousand patients with suspicious COVID-19 only in Ankara and hospital’s intensive care units began to have difficulties due to the excessive number of cases, Bulut also stated that there is no capacity for the new patients in Ankara, and these patients have to wait for receiving treatment in hospitals.

Following the allegations, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca wrote on his Twitter account on August 6 that ‘‘Contrary to false allegations, not a single city is overflowing with patients or a hospital full to capacity due to COVID-19 in Turkey. Please give credence only to official statements by the Ministry of Health.’’

Turkey’s Health Ministry had stopped announcing figures of intensive care and intubated patients as of July 29 after a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care since the reopening of cafés, restaurants, and recreation areas as well as lifting intercity travel restrictions in early June.

Although Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca made some statements on these changes on his Twitter account, he did not mention the absence of intensive care and intubation figures.

Evaluating the situation for soL news, public health specialist and soL columnist İlker Belek had pointed out that the number of intensive care and intubated patients is the substantial data revealing the severity of the pandemic and the change on Turkey’s Daily Coronavirus Table is an attempt to hide the increasing cases after the government’s ‘‘normalization’’ policy along with the unsuccessful past of the ruling AKP’s fight against the pandemic.

Following the four-day Muslim festival Eid al-Adha, Turkey has reported the highest number of daily coronavirus cases since early July on Thursday with 1,153 new COVID-19 cases and 14 new deaths.

As of August 6, the total number of cases in the country climbed to 237,265 while total recoveries reached 220,546.

As the death toll from the novel coronavirus in Turkey rose to 5,798, health care professionals performed 54,494 new tests, raising the tally to over 5 million.