Turkey’s coronavirus death toll hits record for tenth consecutive day

Turkey’s coronavirus death toll hits record for tenth consecutive day
People walk on the deserted Sultanahmet square in Istanbul during a night-time curfew on December 1, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 02 December 2020

Turkey’s coronavirus death toll hits record for tenth consecutive day

Turkey’s coronavirus death toll hits record for tenth consecutive day
  • Erdogan announced new measures on Monday to combat the surge in cases and deaths
  • Measures include a weekday curfew and a full lockdown at weekends

ANKARA: Turkey’s daily COVID-19 death toll hit a record high for a tenth consecutive day on Wednesday, with 193 fatalities in the last 24 hours, Health Ministry data showed.
President Tayyip Erdogan announced new measures on Monday to combat the surge in cases and deaths, including introducing a weekday curfew and a full lockdown at weekends.
The number of new coronavirus cases, including asymptomatic ones, recorded over the past 24 hours stood at 31,923. Total deaths rose to 14,129, but historical data on total cases is not available, as Turkey only reported symptomatic cases for four months. It began reporting all cases last Wednesday.


Syrian White Helmets given funds to make PPE 

Syrian White Helmets given funds to make PPE 
Updated 11 min 15 sec ago

Syrian White Helmets given funds to make PPE 

Syrian White Helmets given funds to make PPE 
  • With millions living in tents across country’s northwest, threat of COVID-19 is severe
  • $1.6m awarded by non-profit organization funded by UK, US, Canadian, Dutch governments

LONDON: Syria’s White Helmets, the civilian rescue group that recovers victims from rubble after airstrikes in the war-torn country, is now making personal protective equipment (PPE) to further its life-saving mission.
The civil defense service, which has worked to reduce the harm of indiscriminate shelling from the Assad regime, has received a $1.6 million award for the production of PPE from a non-profit organization funded by the UK, US, Canadian and Dutch governments.
Funds from the Humanitarian Grand Challenge group have led to the creation of a PPE-producing facility that has manufactured some 2 million masks.
It is also producing protective gowns and face shields — key equipment in the fight against COVID-19 — and handling the disposal of used PPE for northwest Syria’s population, who live in a precarious area that is predominantly out of the regime’s control. 
“The COVID-19 pandemic was the most difficult challenge the White Helmets faced in 2020,” said Munir Mustafa, its deputy general manager for humanitarian affairs.
“We witnessed the spread of the virus in north-western Syria among humanitarian workers and medical personnel, while the global pandemic made cross-borders logistics almost impossible.”
The White Helmets has enhanced community efforts to keep people safe from COVID-19 amid pressing security challenges.
“Our volunteers and fellow humanitarians, health care providers and other essential workers are safer now and can continue caring for Syrian civilians and responding to the pandemic,” Mustafa said.
The White Helmets, established in 2014, was originally formed for search-and-rescue efforts and to broaden the provision of first responders. It claims to have saved some 120,000 lives.
Its role has developed as challenges facing the Syrian people have grown. Violence in the country has demolished health care facilities, decimating communities and cutting off millions from crucial medical care. 
The bombing of civilian areas has forced many to flee to temporary refugee facilities that are often cramped and in poor condition.
With millions living in tents across the country’s northwest, the threat of COVID-19 is severe.
Around 500 cases of COVID-19 are being recorded per day in northwest Syria, but experts say the true number is much higher due to inadequate testing infrastructure.
The Humanitarian Grand Challenge said: “The White Helmets’ ability to manufacture and distribute personal protective equipment inside Syria will not only protect those working in the overwhelmed health system, but reduce the spread of the virus among the most vulnerable.”