Turkey hits record COVID-19 cases after change in reporting

Turkey hits record COVID-19 cases after change in reporting
Turkey became the country with the third highest number of daily new COVID-19 cases globally on Nov. 25 after changing the way it reports figures. (File/AFP)
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Updated 26 November 2020

Turkey hits record COVID-19 cases after change in reporting

Turkey hits record COVID-19 cases after change in reporting
  • Up till Wednesday, Turkey’s asymptomatic cases were not included in the number of daily reported cases
  • Turkish Medical Association estimated the average daily number of non-hospitalized cases to be above 47,000

ANKARA: Turkey became the country with the third highest number of daily new COVID-19 cases globally on Nov. 25 — behind the US and India — after changing the way it reports figures.
Turkish Health Ministry has begun publishing all positive cases, including asymptomatic ones, in its daily count following months-long harsh criticisms from the scientific world, including the World Health Organization, and opposition figures claiming that the measuring method used was hiding the true scale of the outbreak.
Up till Wednesday — since March — Turkey’s asymptomatic cases were not included in the number of daily reported cases.
The country recorded 28,351 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, including 6,814 with symptoms; 168 people had died on Nov. 25 due to COVID-19, raising the death toll to 12,840.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has warned that the country may need to take “radical measures” as the number of daily COVID-19 deaths has climbed to record levels.
However, Caghan Kizil, a specialist in neuroscience and genetics at Dresden University’s Faculty of Medicine, tweeted: “We have reminded you of your responsibility for months. You did not take it into account. You created this situation by yourself. Being together would be by listening to scientists. Building trust was most important. You failed it, Mr. Koca.”
The government only introduced partial curfews for weekends, and limitations on restaurants and cafes.
However, these measures remain disputed by medical groups and local governors.
Istanbul metropolitan mayor, Ekrem Imamoglu, has criticized government efforts that did not curb the pandemic. On the discrepancy in the Ministry of Health’s daily COVID-19 data, he recently announced that “even only in Istanbul the daily death toll is 50-60 higher than the announced national number.”
The officially announced death rates are also controversial, as the ministry announced 168 COVID-linked deaths on Wednesday, while the Istanbul municipality’s cemeteries department recorded 203 deaths alone on the same day due to “infectious diseases.”
The occupancy rates in the intensive care units of hospitals in the three biggest cities of Turkey exceed 70 percent. The number was by far the highest reported by the Turkish government since the beginning of the outbreak.
The Turkish Health Minister announced that about 80 percent of people who tested positive were either asymptomatic or showed slight symptoms — highlighting the importance of including asymptomatic cases in the total tally. 
The Turkish Medical Association, the largest doctors’ group in the country, estimated that the average daily number of non-hospitalized cases was above 47,000. Many provinces in the country are also facing a third peak.
Meanwhile, due to the sharp decline in tourism figures, Turkey’s flagship air carrier Turkish Airlines needs $2.5 billion of bank loans and is seeking state assistance, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. Over the first nine months of 2020, the airline recorded a 5.2 billion Turkish lira ($0.66 billion) loss.


Israeli police prevent Dome of the Rock repairs

Israeli police prevent Dome of the Rock repairs
This picture shows the Dome of the Rock at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Jerusalem's Old City on July 27, 2018, after the site was reopened. (AFP)
Updated 46 min 39 sec ago

Israeli police prevent Dome of the Rock repairs

Israeli police prevent Dome of the Rock repairs
  • Council set to denounce action that is ‘violation of understandings’

AMMAN: Israeli police have stopped workers from the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf from renovating the Dome of the Rock for two consecutive days, raising tensions in the old city.

Azzam Khatib, director of the Jordanian Waqf department in Jerusalem, informed Jordan’s Ambassador in Tel Aviv Ghassan Majali and Minister of Waqf in Amman Mohammed Khalaileh of the news.

Israeli officials claim the decision was made after an individual tried to renovate the ceiling of the Bab Al-Rahmeh mosque, which Israel has demanded Muslims to vacate, without reason.

The Jerusalem Waqf Council is expected to issue a strong statement denouncing the Israeli action, calling it a violation of understandings.

Bassam Hallaq, the Waqf engineer in charge of the renovation, said that Israeli police stopped work on the gold-plated Dome of the Rock on Saturday and Sunday, and prevented urgent electric work, too.

Israel insists that any renovation or repair must be pre-approved. The renovation is not structural.

Arab News has learned that the Israeli actions on Saturday and Sunday followed the efforts of an unknown Palestinian whose face was covered, who climbed the roof of the Bab Al-Rahmeh mosque in order to apply cement to stop leaks.

Israel has forbidden any repair work on the mosque.

Hallaq said that all repair work in the entire Al-Aqsa compound has also been suspended by Israel.

The mosque’s engineer insists that the Waqf has no cement materials inside the Al-Aqsa mosque compound and that Friday was a holiday when staff did not work.

Sheikh Omar Kisswani, director of Al-Aqsa Mosque, told reporters that repairs to the entire 144 dunum Haram Al-Sharif/Al-Aqsa mosque compound were the right of the Islamic Waqf and that the Israeli police have no right to interfere in their work.

A spokesman for the Israeli police told Arab News that the “subject isn’t under the responsibility of the Israeli police.”