Turkey announces asymptomatic coronavirus case numbers for first time since July

Turkey announces asymptomatic coronavirus case numbers for first time since July
A police officer is seen at Taksim square during a protest against femicide and violence against women, in Istanbul, Turkey, November 25, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 25 November 2020

Turkey announces asymptomatic coronavirus case numbers for first time since July

Turkey announces asymptomatic coronavirus case numbers for first time since July
  • Ankara had only been reporting symptomatic cases since the summer
  • Health Ministry data on Wednesday showed 168 people had died due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours

ISTANBUL: Turkey recorded 28,351 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, including 6,814 with symptoms, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Wednesday, the first time since July Ankara has included asymptomatic cases in the total.
The total was by far the highest reported by the government since the outbreak began. The previous daily high, which only included symptomatic cases, was 7,381, recorded on Tuesday.
Ankara had only been reporting symptomatic cases since the summer, which critics said masked the true scale of the outbreak.
During a news conference on Wednesday, Koca unexpectedly said Ankara would begin announcing the total numbers.
“In line with requests from our people, we plan on including positive cases that do not show symptoms in the daily table,” he said, adding that around 80% of people who test positive were asymptomatic or lightly symptomatic.
Health Ministry data on Wednesday showed 168 people had died due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, the most since the beginning of the outbreak, raising the death toll to 12,840.
Symptomatic patients totaled 467,730 as of Wednesday, data at the ministry’s website showed. While the case total was not announced, Koca said it would be included in the table in coming days.
Separately, he said Turkey had signed a contract to buy 50 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd.
“The important thing here for us to start using vaccines which are known to be effective and reliable. ... I think the vaccination calendar could start on Dec. 11,” Koca said.
Sinovac’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine CoronaVac triggered a quick immune response, but the level of antibodies produced was lower than in people who had recovered, preliminary trial results showed.


Israel extradites woman wanted for sex crimes to Australia

Israel extradites woman wanted for sex crimes to Australia
Updated 14 min 27 sec ago

Israel extradites woman wanted for sex crimes to Australia

Israel extradites woman wanted for sex crimes to Australia
  • Malka Leifer had been fighting extradition from Israel since 2014
  • She faces 74 charges of child sex abuse that she allegedly committed while teaching in Melbourne

JERUSALEM: Israeli authorities on Monday extradited a woman wanted on 74 charges of child sex abuse in Australia, following a six-year legal battle that had strained relations between the two governments.
Malka Leifer, a former teacher accused of sexually abusing several former students at a Jewish school in Melbourne, had been fighting extradition from Israel since 2014. Leifer maintains her innocence and the protracted court case and repeated delays over her extradition drew criticism from Australian officials as well as the country’s Jewish leaders.
Israeli media photographed Leifer boarding a plane at Ben Gurion Airport early Monday, her ankles and wrists shackled. Her lawyer, Nick Kaufman, confirmed the extradition.
The Hebrew-language news site Ynet reported that she boarded a flight to Frankfurt, where she would transfer to another flight bound for Australia.
Her departure was timed so that she left the country before Israel’s shutdown of the airport at midnight due to the country’s coronavirus outbreak.
In December, the Supreme Court rejected a final appeal against her extradition, and Israel’s justice minister signed the order to send her to Australia.
Leifer faces 74 charges of child sex abuse that she allegedly committed while teaching in Melbourne.
As accusations against her began surfacing in 2008, Israeli-born Leifer left the school and returned to Israel, where she has lived since.
Critics, including Leifer’s alleged victims, had accused Israeli authorities of dragging out the case for far too long, while Leifer claimed she was mentally unfit to stand trial.
Last year, an Israeli psychiatric panel determined Leifer was lying about her mental condition, setting in motion the extradition.
Avi Nissenkorn, Israel’s former justice minister who had signed the extradition order, wrote on Twitter: “I promised that I would not hinder the extradition order, and that’s what I have done. Malka Leifer’s victims will finally earn an act of justice.”
Manny Waks, head of Voice against Child Sex Abuse, an organization representing Leifer’s victims, said in a statement that “this is an incredible day for justice!”
“We can now truly look forward to Leifer facing justice in Australia on the 74 charges she is facing,” he said.