Another 79 people died in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 356 people, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said. Another 2,456 people tested positive and the country now has 18,135 confirmed cases, he said. Testing has increased to 18,135 a day — nearly double the rate just five days ago.
The virus has infected 601 medical professionals in Turkey, Koca said on Wednesday. Cemil Tascioglu, an internist who taught at Istanbul University, became the first doctor to die after testing positive for the coronavirus on March 17, his son said in a tweet. Tascioglu, 67, was also the first medical professional to diagnose the disease in a Turkish patient. Koca said a retired medical school instructor died on Thursday. A 33-year-old nurse died last week.
Pharmacists have warned that they too are in danger, prompting the Istanbul governor to reduce their workdays by an hour. The Istanbul Chamber of Pharmacists said last week its members were falling ill as patients diagnosed with COVID-19 were “forced to visit pharmacy after pharmacy to fill their prescriptions, making our pharmacies a focal point in the spread of the epidemic.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey faces a “historic catastrophe” as the country suffered its deadliest day yet from the coronavirus pandemic and warned opposition mayors against “political profiteering”.