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Turkish health minister denies claims of contradictory COVID-19 data

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Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on Monday denied claims on social media that his government has been announcing inaccurate figures on novel coronavirus infections.

“Claims on social media that we have been announcing inconsistent data are completely baseless. The numbers are based on COVID-19 diagnoses,” Koca tweeted. “The numbers are real and instantaneous. Manipulating facts will not benefit anyone.”

The controversy was caused by a discrepancy between the death tolls announced by the government and an online inquiry system run by the İstanbul Municipality, the Ahval news website reported.

While the ministry reported 16 deaths nationwide, the municipal website reported 20 COVID-19 deaths in the city of İstanbul alone.

Access to the municipal system was blocked after opposition deputy Veli Ağbaba raised the issue, according to Ahval.

Ağbaba later tweeted that he was informed by Minister Koca that the apparent discrepancy might have been caused by the deaths recorded after the official announcement.

Turkey has so far confirmed 10,827 cases of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus. A total of 168 people have died, according to official data.

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