Less than half of Turks find government’s pandemic response reassuring: survey

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Forty percent of Turkish citizens find the government’s handling of the pandemic reassuring, down from 73 percent in March 2020, according to a recent survey commissioned by Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, the Birgün daily reported on Monday.

According to the survey conducted in January, 24 percent of respondents said they think life will go back to normal within a year, down from 64 percent in another poll conducted in May 2020.

The survey indicated that 48 percent of the population is not willing to get vaccinated, with the percentage doubling among people who find the government’s response to the pandemic reassuring. Every second respondent said a person close to them had been infected with the coronavirus.

Turkey reported the first coronavirus case on March 11, relatively later than other countries in Europe. From July to the end of November, the Turkish government made public only the comparatively small number of COVID-19 “patients” with symptoms, excluding people with no symptoms and who didn’t require hospitalization. In the wake of growing criticism, the Health Ministry in late November began to report the number of all individuals who tested positive for the coronavirus.

The reporting of all coronavirus cases in Turkey, which numbered some 30,000 a day at the time, caused the country jump from one of the least-affected countries to the sixth most affected in the world back in December.

Turkey’s medical community and opposition parties accuse the Turkish government of manipulating the number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the country in order to mask the true scale of the pandemic and present a “success story” to the public.

On Feb. 7 Turkey reported 6,670 new coronavirus cases, while the death toll over the past 24 hours was 112. Turkey’s total coronavirus death toll stands at 26,797, and the country has so far reported a total of 2,531,456 cases.

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