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Coronaoutbreak Status Turkey

What is COVID 19? It is a disease caused by SARS-CoV2 virus. The virus was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. It was a new member of the big coronavirus family and was different and more dangerous than the previously known types (229E, NL63, OC43, or HKU1) that cause mild illness, like the common cold. The four main symptoms of the COVID-19 disease are fever, cough, weakness, and shortness of breath. There are currently 1,872 confirmed cases and 44 deaths in Turkey. Their locations are not precise. The first case was confirmed (index case) on 11thof March by the Minister of Health. WHO declared a global pandemic on the 12th of March. The first death from COVID-19 has been recorded at 17th of March.

How does the virus cause COVID-19? The COVID-19 spreads with “droplets” that is coming out from an infected person’s mouth, lung or nose. It then colonizes the throat and trunk of the person and then starts to replicate. When enough viruses are present, it starts to invade the lungs and all body and may cause severe pneumonia. The incubation period is 2-6 days, up to 14 days maximum. The disease is accepted to be contagious 1-2 days before the onset of symptoms and remains so until the symptoms disappear.

How to diagnose? First of all, if you become a candidate for testing the current algorithm says you stay in observation until the result is available. In Turkey, only state-sponsored laboratories are authorized to conduct COVID-19 diagnostic tests. Ministry of Health announced the procurement of rapid test kits from China. The test is mostly for screening and will result in 15 minutes. The sponsored laboratories still do regular (PCR) testing and sample kits are distributed and collected by the City health authority. Any private or public hospital can request a diagnostic kit if the patient falls within the definition of a possible case:

  1. Fever and acute respiratory disease (Cough or shortness of breath) AND.

  2. No other explanation of the condition AND

  3. History of travel abroad within 14 days of the onset of symptoms.


  1. Acute respiratory disease (Cough or shortness of breath) AND

  2. Contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days.


  1. Fever and acute respiratory disease (Cough or shortness of breath) AND

  2. Need for hospitalization due to Severe acute respiratory disease AND

  3. No other explanation of the condition.

What happens if someone is diagnosed with COVID-19?

The patient is going to be transported to an isolation hospital/unit for follow up by 112 (National Ground Ambulance Service).

Some hospitals’ certain departments are closed and now designated as COVID-19 positive and COVID-19 negative (patient who had a close contact with a positive case but his/her test is negative) wards.  Some of these hospitals are:

  1. Kartal Lutfi Kirdar State Hospital, Istanbul

  2. Sultan Abdulhamid Training and Education Hospital, Istanbul

  3. Sureyyapasa Gogus Hastalıklari Hospital, Istanbul

  4. Haseki Training and Education Hospital

  5. Bilkent Sehir Hospital, Ankara

  6. Erciyes University Hospital, Kayseri

People who has been in close contact with patient are contacted by MoH and are either admitted for observation or are asked to self-isolate and apply to hospital if any symptoms occur. They are regularly called to check for new symptoms.

New antiviral medicine stocks are ordered from China. The medicine is supposed to decrease average ICU time from 11 days to 4 days.

Positive case management?

Patient is consistent with possible case? Then he is isolated and tested. If test is negative treatment for alternative diagnosis started. If no response to treatment in 48 hours? Test again.

If first test is positive. Patient hospitalized. Further treatment protocol applied.

What restrictions are currently applied?

  1. As of Today, all flights except five locations (Washington, New York, Moscow, Hong Kong and Addis Ababa) have been stopped.

  2. Land borders to Iran, Iraq and Georgia are closed. Borders to Greece and Bulgaria restricted.

  3. Turkey declared holiday for all schools and higher education on Friday the 13th of March 2020. Online education via television and internet have started

  4. Hotels and resorts are recommended to postpone the beginning of new tourism season until the end of April.

  5. All sport, cultural and scientific gatherings have been cancelled

  1. Around 16,000 returning pilgrims from Saudi Arabia are quarantined in dorms in Ankara and Konya for 14 days of .

  2. Thousands of Turkish tourists and students are voluntarily evacuated from Europe and taken to 14 days quarantine.

  3. Any returning residents are asked to do voluntary 14days of quarantine upon arrival.

  4. All residents are encouraged to cancel any international trip until the end of April

  5. People are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible and apply strict hand hygiene, stay away from crowded places and not to present to hospitals unless it is really necessary.

  6. All international airports are now being screened with thermal cameras.

  1. Domestic public transports are allowed to carry only the half of the designated passenger count.

  2. All bars, night clubs, internet cafes, tea houses closed. Restaurants are allowed only package deliver or take out.

  3. People older than 65 years old are required to stay at home.

  4. Markets will be open between 09:00 – 21:00; Banks 12.00-17:00 only.

184 hotline number of Ministry of Health now provides guidance for COVID-19 disease to public.

Medical guidelines are reviewed and renewed by the Coronavirus Science Council continuously for the use of hospital administrators, medical practitioners and government bodies.

For further questions and information please follow our updates and follow us on social media.

Article by: Dr. Mevlüt Cengiz, Medical Operations Manager

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