Number of coronavirus cases in Turkey climbs to 5,698, death toll at 92: minister

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Fahrettin Koca

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Friday the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus had reached 5,698 while the death toll increased to 92 with 17 more deaths in the last 24 hours, according to the Turkish media.

“Among the patients, 344 are in intensive care, and 42 have been discharged from the hospital so far,” he told reporters at a press conference in Ankara.

He said the hospitals had conducted 47,823 tests for coronavirus, adding that the country is ready to increase the number of daily tests.

“You can see we are now conducting 7 to 8,000 tests in one day, it will be 15 to 20,000 soon enough,” he said.

Turkey has nearly 1 million test kits, including some 350,000 kits imported from China that give results in a shorter time period, according to the minister.

Koca denied claims that health workers in Turkish hospitals were lacking necessary protective gear, such as masks, saying 3.6 million masks were recently distributed to hospitals.

Nearly 62 percent of the country’s intensive care units are in use, he added, saying that there would be adequate space for more patients.

The scientific board assisting the ministry in the fight against the pandemic recently had a meeting with Chinese doctors for consultation, Koca said.

The latest advice from the board was conveyed to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who will decide on further measures, he added.

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