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Experts worried Turkey nearing critical care capacity for COVID-19 patients: report

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The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus, has led to worries regarding Turkey’s intensive care units as experts warn that the outbreak might lead to capacity problems within two weeks, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported.

President of the Turkish Society of Intensive Care Professionals (TYBD), Professor İsmail Cinel, said it is imperative to increase the number of intensive care beds in parallel with the increase in confirmed cases.

“Curfews must be imposed on certain regions immediately,” he told DW. “Otherwise hospitals will be exposed to hazards due to density issues.”

In March Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced that Turkey currently had 25,466 adult intensive care beds.

Cinel, however, told DW that the units consist of three stages and only the second and third ones offer the ventilators required in the treatment of COVID-19 cases, advising officials to enable the first stage units to treat patients by equipping them with ventilators.

Anesthesiology expert Professor Nursel Şahin said she expects critical care capacity to be overwhelmed within two weeks.

“Early diagnosis tests have not become available. We are unable to perform full isolation. We anticipate problems in intensive care units,” she said.

Other experts who spoke to DW highlighted problems related to the low number of critical care nurses per capita as well as worries that the lack of capacity in intensive care might aggravate Turkey’s already existing problem of violence against health workers.

“I feel unhappy and insecure,” one anonymous doctor told DW. “I am thinking about retiring when the pandemic is over. Many of my colleagues feel the same way.”

Turkey has thus far confirmed more than 15,000 cases of coronavirus with a death toll of 277 as of Wednesday. The first case was confirmed on March 11. Experts have raised the alarm over the acceleration in numbers.

First seen in the Chinese city of Wuhan, COVID-19 has spread rapidly around the world, infecting more than 950,000 people and killing nearly 50,000. Over 200,000 recoveries have been reported.

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