Turkey revises testing criteria for COVID-19

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Turkey’s health ministry has updated its guidelines for COVID-19 testing, identifying a larger set of symptoms as sufficient grounds for testing individuals for the disease, the pro-government Hürriyet newspaper reported on Monday.

Sore throat, headache, loss of taste and smell, diarrhea and muscle or joint pain will now be considered reasons to test people for COVID-19, and anyone exhibiting any of the symptoms can be tested, the report said.

Up until now, fever, cough and shortness of breath were taken as the main criteria for testing. The update was introduced after cases of COVID-19 not exhibiting these symptoms were identified.

Professor Mehmet Ceylan from the Association of Infectious Diseases told Hürriyet that people with fever and cough represent 20 percent of patients, whereas this rate was at 70 percent at the start of the pandemic.

“Forty-five percent of the contagion worldwide now comes from people with no symptoms,” Ceyhan said. “It is believed that some 300,000 people in Turkey are infected but don’t know it. An estimated one in 100 people in İstanbul carry the virus.”

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