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Coronavirus cases in Turkey exceed 1.5 million: minister

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Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has announced that the total number of people infected with the coronavirus in Turkey has exceeded 1.5 million, with the country seeing a fivefold increase in infections compared to the first peak of the pandemic in April, Turkish media outlets reported.

“The daily number of cases is more than five times [that of April], while there has been a 55 percent increase in the death toll. The number of hospitalized [coronavirus] patients is increasing across the country and is more significant in some cities,” the minister told reporters following a meeting of the scientific board on Wednesday evening

The country’s coronavirus death toll stood at 15,531 as of Dec. 9.

Koca said the number of coronavirus cases continues to increase in Hatay, Adana, Samsun, Antalya, Mersin and Ordu provinces, adding that hospitals and healthcare workers are struggling to deal with the rapidly growing number of COVID-19 patients.

According to the minister, new infections have begun to drop in cities such as İstanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Bursa, Kocaeli, Konya, Sivas, Kahramanmaraş and Gaziantep.

The minister also announced on Wednesday that a total of 31,712 people were infected with the coronavirus and 217 died of the disease over the past 24 hours. Turkey is among the hardest-hit countries in Europe, registering its first case on March 11.

In the meantime, some 112 emergency hotline workers who spoke to the Birgün daily said they are unable to keep up with the huge number of calls for assistance they receive every day.

A 112 worker who requested not to be named told the daily that they received 200 calls in six hours on Sunday compared to some 60 calls before the coronavirus pandemic.

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