Unofficial number of daily COVID-19 cases in Turkey exceeds 1,000

As the COVID-19 pandemic seems to fall into a decline with daily cases below 1,000 according to recent official statistics announced by the Turkish government, soL columnist and public health expert İlker Belek writes that the unofficial number of daily cases of the pandemic in the country has exceeded 1,000 in reality.
Tuesday, 28 July 2020 09:08

The COVID-19 pandemic has been prolonged with a declining effect in Turkey, as the daily number of cases is fluctuating about 1,000. 

The number of daily coronavirus cases, which had decreased to 786 on June 3, 2020, increased again with the ‘‘normalization’’ decision of the Turkish government in June and exceeded the level of 1,000 once again on June 12, reaching 1,195 daily cases. Furthermore, it reached its maximum value on June 15 with 1,592 daily cases.

Since then, the daily number of 1,000 cases has become a psychological threshold for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Finally, the daily number of COVID-19 cases has fallen below 1,000 again on July 14. However, this time it has remained constant at the level of around 900 positive cases per day.

Although the number of daily coronavirus cases has decreased by 8% since it has fallen below 1,000 again, the number of daily tests has also been regularly decreasing. This situation suggests that the decrease in the number of daily COVID-19 cases hinged upon the decrease in the number of tests performed in the country. 

This hypothesis is also supported by the course of daily coronavirus case and performed test rates. The positive cases-to-tests ratio, which was 2.17 on July 13 with 1,008 daily COVID-19 cases, was higher than the confirmed cases announced on July 13 on the eight days of the following 13 days, and it was 2.32 on July 26, 2020. In addition, the average positive cases-to-tests ratio for the period after July 13 was 2.19. 

Thus, the control of pandemic in the period when the number of daily cases has fallen below 1,000 again is worse than the situation on July 13.

Considering the daily number of tests, the number of cases on July 26 is 1,077 in Turkey.

It is also noteworthy that all these evaluations above do not include the recent claims that the testing kits used by Turkey’s Ministry of Health have COVID-19-case detection ability of only 40%.  


Adil Mardinoğlu, the Chairman of the Health Institutes of Turkey (TÜSEB), and its general secretary Hakan Türkez had announced their resignations from their posts last week.

Dr. Selçuk Kılıç, the Chairman of the Microbiology Reference Laboratories and Biological Products Department operating under the Ministry of Health, who approved the testing kits used by the Turkish authorities, was also removed from his post in a surprise decision.

The resignations and dismissals within Turkey’s Health Ministry have ignited speculation as to whether they were related to the recent allegations about the COVID-19 testing kits, which are claimed to detect just 40% of positive cases of the virus after an international examination of the test.

In late April, the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) had called on the Health Ministry on using the appropriate World Health Organization (WHO) codes when reporting COVID-19 deaths, claiming that the number of coronavirus deaths in Turkey is higher than the official figures announced by the Health Minister Fahrettin Koca since the relevant authorities do not send the numbers to the WHO using the appropriate codes.

TTB also claimed that some people died of COVID-19 are recorded as being caused by ‘‘infectious diseases’’, ‘‘viral pneumonia’’ or as ‘‘natural death’’, consciously ignoring those who lost their lives due to coronavirus infection.