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CHP politician says Turkey late in taking economic measures against coronavirus

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Faik Öztrak, the vice chair of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said the country was late in taking economic measures against the coronavirus pandemic and had been caught off guard, the Artı Gerçek news website reported on Wednesday.

Speaking at a press briefing after receiving officials from the World Health Organization (WHO), Öztrak said with a growth rate of under 1 percent, unemployment of nearly 14 percent and foreign currency reserves down to $22.5 billion, Turkey was completely unprepared for the impacts of the crisis sparked by the outbreak of COVID-19.

On Wednesday President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced a package of $15 billion in support for the economy after the government ordered the closure of numerous types of businesses as part of efforts to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus.

On the other hand, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-chair Pervin Buldan released a video message in which she called on the government to transparently inform the public and step up its measures.

She urged the government to redesign state-owned buildings as quarantine centers and provide completely free of charge health services.

She also called for the release from prison of elderly and sick inmates as well as mothers accompanied by their children.

Late on Tuesday Turkey announced the first death in the country related to the coronavirus. The number of officially confirmed cases has reached 98.

First seen in the Chinese city of Wuhan, COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus, has spread rapidly around the world, infecting more than 200,000 people worldwide and killing nearly 8,500.

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