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|2020 coronavirus pandemic in Turkey|
Number of confirmed cases by provinces (as of 1 April):
Number of confirmed cases per million inhabitants by provinces.
|First outbreak||China, Europe, United States, Middle East|
|Arrival date||11 March 2020 (24 days)|
|Severe cases||2,118 (incl. 867 intubated patients)|
|Ministry of Health|
The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic was confirmed to have spread to Turkey when its first case was officially confirmed on 11 March 2020 (UTC+03:00). The first death due to coronavirus disease in the country occurred on 17 March 2020. On 23 March 2020, the Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca announced that cases of coronavirus had spread all over Turkey.
On 3 April 2020, Minister Koca confirmed that the total number of cases increased to 20,921 and the death toll reached 425. The total number of tests performed so far were 141,716.
On 10 January 2020, the Ministry of Health set up the Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board. It consists of 26 members specialized in fields such as chest diseases, infectious diseases and clinical microbiology. The number of board members later increased to 31 with the joining of experts and academics in virology, internal medicine and intensive care medicine. The board works out guidelines for the treatment by medicals and measures to be followed by the public, and updates them in context of the disease's course in the country.
On 24 January, Turkey's health ministry installed thermal cameras at the airports. The ministry also decided to subject any passengers arriving from China to additional screenings and quarantine anyone showing the symptoms of the coronavirus infection. The screenings were later expanded to include countries that reported a high number of confirmed cases. Other precautionary measures on the airports included infrared guns, disinfection at all customs gates and the handing out of free surgical masks and instruction leaflets.
On 31 January, the Turkish government sent a plane to airlift 34 Turkish citizens and several others from Wuhan. The others include seven Azeris, seven Georgians and one Albanian. China ordered 200 million masks from Turkey in addition to Turkey's yearly production of 150 million masks.
On 1 February, Turkey announced its decision to stop all the flights from China. The border with Iran was closed on 23 February after the Iranian authorities didn't adhere to the advice of Turkey to quarantine the Iranian city of Qom. On the same day, Turkey announced its decision to stop all flights to and from Iran.
On 29 February, Turkey announced the termination of all flights to and from Italy, South Korea and Iraq. Soon after, the border with Iraq was also closed. The ministry also established field hospitals near the Iraq and Iran borders.
In the early hours of 11 March 2020 (UTC+03:00), Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced that a Turkish man who had contracted the virus while travelling in Europe was the country's first coronavirus case. The patient had been placed in isolation at an undisclosed hospital, and family members of the patient were put under observation.
On 13 March, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca made an announcement via his official Twitter account, confirming that a relative of the first person infected with coronavirus had fallen ill with the disease and was taken under observation and necessary measures were taken. In the evening, it was announced that three other people in the same family had tested positive for coronavirus, and thus the number of confirmed cases in Turkey rose to five. Later in the evening, Koca announced that the number of confirmed cases rose to six, with a pilgrim who recently returned from Umrah testing positive.
According to the statement made by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, 5,392 out of 10,330 citizens who returned from Umrah were quarantined in state dormitories in Ankara while the remaining 4,938 were quarantined in Konya. On 15 March, Koca announced that the number of confirmed cases increased to 18, with 7 of the new cases originating from Europe and 3 cases originating from the United States.
On 16 March, Koca announced that the number of confirmed cases had risen to 47, with new cases originating from the Middle East, Europe and the United States. The Directorate of Communications announced that President Erdoğan would head a comprehensive coordination meeting on Wednesday to discuss plans for combating the new type of coronavirus and inform the public about the results afterwards. On 17 March, Minister Koca reported the first death from the coronavirus, an 89-year-old patient, while the number of confirmed cases rose to 98.
On 18 March, Minister Koca announced the second death from coronavirus, a 61-year-old male patient. Koca further stated that the number of confirmed cases rose to 191 with 93 new cases. The Turkish Medical Association, TTB Specialist Associations, Public Health Experts Association, Turkish Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Association, Turkish Thoracic Society, and Turkish Intensive Care Association had a meeting on 17 March to evaluate the developments regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. In their paper, released on 18 March, they concluded that the pandemic poses significant dangers for healthcare workers and patients, adding that deficiencies in information and precautions have caused confusion, and insufficient information on drug use, lack of access to tests, and various other issues have made it difficult to combat the pandemic.
On 19 March, it was reported that former commander in chief of the Turkish Army Aytaç Yalman who recently returned from Iran died of coronavirus disease on 15 March 2020, aged 79. Later that day, one person had tested positive for coronavirus, and 45 co-workers and their family members were quarantined in Çeşme district of İzmir Province. In a statement published on his Twitter account, Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca announced that an 85-year-old woman had lost her life, adding that there were 168 new confirmed cases.
On 20 March, Minister Koca reported that total number of confirmed cases and deaths rose to 670 and 9, respectively. The Ministry of Health issued an order to declare all hospitals with at least two specialists in infections, pulmonology, internal medicine and clinical microbiology, including private and foundation hospitals, as coronavirus pandemic hospitals. The Human Rights Association, Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, Association of Lawyers for Liberty, Contemporary Lawyers Association, and Health and Social Service Workers Union of Civil Society in the Penal System, also published a statement on the COVID-19 outbreak and urged for immediate action in prisons. In their article, they emphasized on informing the public, especially family and lawyers of prisoners, about quarantine practices and the health status of prisoners.
On 21 March, Minister Koca has reported that the number of confirmed cases rose to 947 with a death toll of 21, following the death of 12 elderly patients. Fenerbahçe Basketball announced that some players in its team and administrative staff had symptoms of the coronavirus disease.
On 22 March, Koca announced that the death toll had risen to 30 with a total of 1,236 confirmed cases.
On 23 March, Koca announced that the death toll had risen to 37 with a total of 1,529 confirmed cases. At a press conference, Koca announced that a drug called Favipiravir, which was reported by Chinese authorities to be effective in treating the disease, was imported and started to be administered to intensive care patients. Koca also announced that healthcare workers would be paid an additional fee on their paychecks for 3 months. On the same day, Fatih Terim, a famous Turkish association football manager and former player, was diagnosed with the COVID-19.
On 24 March, Koca announced that the number of confirmed cases risen to 1,872, with a death toll of 44 in total. On 25 March, the number of confirmed cases increased to 2,433 with the death toll rising to 59. In a press conference jointly organized by Minister of Health and Minister of National Education, it was announced that the number of patients in the intensive care unit was 136 and two patients over 60 years of age were discharged from the hospital. It was added that data regarding the new confirmed cases in Turkey would be published in digital format.
On 26 March, in his message published on his Twitter account, Minister Koca announced that there were 1,196 new diagnoses and 16 more people had died. The total number of confirmed cases rose to 3,629, with a death toll of 75. On 27 March, 2,069 new cases were confirmed and 17 more deaths were reported. The Minister of Health announced that 42 patients have been recovered from the disease so far.
On 28 March, Minister Koca confirmed 1,704 new cases, adding that 16 people had died the past 24 hours. The total number of confirmed cases increased to 7,402, with a death toll of 108. The total number of tests performed until that date was 55,464. On 29 March, Minister Koca announced that there were 1,815 new cases and 23 more deaths. The total number of cases increased to 9,217, and the death toll reached 131. The total number of tests performed so far were 65,446. On 30 March, 1,610 new cases were confirmed, and 37 more deaths occurred. The total number of cases reached 10,827, and 168 people had died.
On 31 March 2020, Minister Koca confirmed that there were 2,704 new cases and 46 more deaths. The total number of cases increased to 13,531, and the death toll reached 214. The total number of tests performed so far were 92,403. TÜRK-İŞ leader Ergün Atalay issued a written statement on 31 March, demanding the banning of layoffs and asked for stopping all works for at least 15 days except those offering essential goods and services. Atalay stressed the necessity of the rapid introduction of the Unemployment Insurance Fund to address the issue of the loss of income, and added that all workers who suffer loss of employment and income should have their provisional income support by their employer, the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the state. DİSK, KESK, TMMOB and TTB launched a signature campaign on 31 March to enforce seven emergency measures. During this period, they believed that "Works should be terminated immediately during the epidemic in all sectors except those providing basic, compulsory and urgent goods and services. Dismissals should be prohibited during the epidemic, small tradesmen should be supported, employees should be given paid leave, and unemployment support should be provided for the unemployed. Consumer, housing and vehicle loans and credit card debts and electricity, water, natural gas and communication bills should be postponed during the epidemic without future interests."
On 1 April 2020, Minister Koca confirmed that there were 2,148 new cases and 63 more deaths. The total number of cases increased to 15,679 and the death toll reached 277. The total number of tests performed so far were 106,799. At the same time, it was announced that there were confirmed cases in all 81 provinces and there were deaths in 39 provinces. The province with the highest number of cases and deaths was Istanbul with 8,852 cases and 117 deaths. It was followed by İzmir with 853 cases and 18 deaths, and Ankara with 712 cases and 7 deaths. He also stated that 601 healthcare workers were infected and 1 doctor had died.
On 2 April 2020, Minister Koca stated that 18,757 new tests were performed, adding that 2,456 new cases detected and 79 further deaths occurred. With these figures, the total number of tests increased to 125,556, the total number of confirmed cases to 18,135, and the total number of deaths to 356. The Istanbul Chamber of Physicians suggested that the figures given by the Ministry of Health were based on cases that test positive for PCR, and do not include the number of 'suspected / possible cases' among inpatients or outpatients. The Chamber of Physicians also criticized the practices carried out in private hospitals in Istanbul.
On 8 March, the Ministry of National Education announced that they were using special disinfectants to keep schools clean against the virus threat. Minister Ziya Selçuk said that every surface open to contact at the schools is being sanitised, noting that vocational schools producing 100 tons of disinfectants daily supply the disinfectants for schools.
Minister Selçuk organized a press conference on 12 March and announced that disinfection would be carried out in all schools after the closure. He said that the weekly curriculum would be structured and the necessary training and education support would be provided by EBA on the Internet and TRT on television, and they had taken whatever measures that were necessary to prevent interruptions and delays in educational programs.
On 12 March 2020, after a meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the rest of the Turkish government, Press Secretary İbrahim Kalın announced that primary schools, middle schools, and high schools in Turkey will be closed starting from 16 March 2020 for a week. Universities will also be closed for three weeks. Sports matches will be played behind closed doors in the stadiums until the end of April. The president also postponed all his overseas visits.
On 17 March, Minister Selçuk visited TRT studios where content relating to the new distance education format was prepared, and stated that the new process was being reviewed to the finest detail, and that the planning and infrastructure preparations would be completed by the week of 23 March. Selçuk stated that the first lesson using this training technique would be given by him.
The remote classes for primary, secondary and high schools started on 23 March 2020 on TRT EBA TV, a channel created through the collaboration of TRT and the Ministry of Education. At the press conference held on 25 March, Minister Selçuk announced that remote teaching would continue until 30 April.
On 26 March, YÖK President Yekta Saraç stated that there would be no in-person teaching at universities in the remainder of the spring semester, and that they would continue with remote education only. He added that the programs, courses and practical courses that could not be offered with distance education and digital education would be completed in the summer months. He announced that the Higher Education Institutions Exam was postponed to 25–26 July. In a message published by the Minister of National Education Twitter on 27 March, it announced that subjects that were set to be covered during the second semester were removed from the Higher Education Institutions Exam.
The Grand National Assembly of Turkey announced that no visitors would be accepted to parliament between 13–31 March. On 13 March, Turkey announced its decision to stop all flights to and from Germany, France, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, Austria and the Netherlands starting from Saturday at 08.00 am until 17 April. On the same day, Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gül announced that meetings in all open and closed prisons, the use of family meeting rooms and transfers between prisons were delayed for two weeks.
On 14 March, following a meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, the two countries temporarily stopped land and air transportation. On the same day, Turkey and Georgia announced their mutual decision to close the Sarpi Border Gate.
On 15 March, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced that between 16 and 30 March all libraries in Turkey would be closed. The Ministry of the Interior announced that pavilions, discotheques, bars and night clubs would be closed temporarily starting from 10:00 on 16 March.
On 16 March, the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs announced a nationwide ban on prayer gatherings in mosques, including Friday prayers, due to the pandemic. Later that day, the Ministry of the Interior also sent a notice on coronavirus precautions to the 81 provinces of Turkey, temporarily closing all public gathering places such as cafes, gyms, Internet cafés and movie theaters, except shops and restaurants not offering music, starting 24:00 that evening. Fahrettin Koca announced that Egypt, Ireland, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the UK were added to the list of countries for which the flight ban was imposed.
On 19 March, the Directorate of Religious Affairs issued a circular to be sent to the provincial muftis, and stating that mosques would be kept closed on Friday. The Youth and Sports Minister Mehmet Kasapoğlu announced that football, volleyball, basketball and handball leagues were postponed.
On 20 March, through a presidential statement, it was announced that all kinds of scientific, cultural, and artistic meetings or activities were postponed until the end of April. Free public transportation for people 65 years of age or older was temporarily suspended in Balıkesir, Konya and Malatya. Horse racing games were postponed until a second announcement is made in the future.
On 21 March, the Ministry of the Interior reported that, with the circular it sent to the 81 provincial governorships, military farewell ceremonies were temporarily suspended. In addition, it was announced that the activities of barber shops, hair dressers and beauty parlours were to cease by 6:00 pm. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry banned barbecuing in gardens, parks and promenades. The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure announced that as of 5:00 pm flights to 46 more countries had stopped, thereby cutting air transport with 68 countries in total. The Ministry of Interior announced a total curfew for those who are over the age 65 or chronically ill. The announcement further stated that starting from midnight, restaurants, dining places and patisseries were to be closed to the public for dining in, and were only allowed to offer home delivery and take-away. Additionally, free public transportation for people over 65 was temporarily suspended in Ankara, Antalya and İzmir.
On 23 March, it was decided that the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul would remain open between 10.00 am–4.00 pm, however, entry and exit would be controlled, and allowed only through two doors. On the same day, the Youth and Sports Minister Mehmet Kasapoğlu announced that the number of people coming from abroad and quarantined at home was 11,269.
On 24 March, the Ministry of the Interior issued a statement, announcing that markets could serve customers between 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, adding that the number of customers in every store needed to be limited to one tenth of its original number based on its area. In addition, it was announced that public transportation vehicles that work in and across the cities could fill up only 50% of their capacity with people at a time.
On 27 March, the Ministry of the Interior issued a new statement regarding gatherings during weekends, announcing that starting from 28–29 March, having picnics, fishing at the shores, doing physical exercise outside (including running and walking on the weekends in city and town centers) would be banned until the virus spread has been contained. It was also stated that, should they deem it necessary, local authorities may extend these new measures to weekdays. On the same day, with the advice of the Ministry of Health, Kendirli town in Rize and Yeniselimiye, Beştepe, Esentepe and Maltepe villages close to the town were quarantined to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Also on 27 March, President Erdoğan announced that all overseas flights were terminated, adding that intercity travel was subject to permission by the state governors, and that places such as picnic areas, forests and historical sites would be closed on the weekend.
On 3 April 2020, President Erdoğan announced an entrance ban to 30 metropolitan municipalities and Zonguldak. Also, the curfew was extended to people younger than 20 years old. Using masks in public places became mandatory.
On 18 March, President Erdoğan urged public to stay at home and not to visit hospitals outside emergency cases. Erdoğan further stated that public banks will deliver pensions to retirees above the age of 76 to their homes, with the minimum amount of payment for retired people being ₺1,500. A ₺100 billion economic measures package was also announced by the government to address financial issues of companies and low-income households. With this package the government promised to raise the Credit Guarantee Fund (KGF) limit, postpone tax liabilities, SGK premium payments and credit debts of employers in sectors most affected by the crisis, and make a resource transfer of ₺2 billion to families in need, among other measures.
The announced economic measures package, set to be provided by the government, was criticized by institutions and individuals, including economists and politicians. The lack of a detailed action plan was the center of criticism. Additionally, at a time when people were encouraged to stay at home, the government was criticized for allowing airline passenger transport and tax reductions that support tourism. Critics asked for lowering the down payment of housing loans and emphasized on the need to provide employment support to different sectors.
On 22 March, by presidential order, all bankruptcy and financial executionary proceedings were stopped until 30 April, except for obligations regarding alimony and child support. Additionally, through a second statement issued by the President, public institutions and organizations were ordered to allow for alternating and flexible schedules and enforce remote working if possible. The Banks Association of Turkey also sent a notice to different banks across the country and limited their working hours to 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm, which went into effect on 23 March 2020.
On 30 March, President Erdoğan announced the initiation of a donation campaign called "We're Enough for Each Other Turkey" (Turkish: Biz Bize Yeteriz Türkiyem). While the campaign was supported by representatives of the ruling party, members of the oppositions had a less favorable reaction to it. As of 1 April 2020, the campaign had raised ₺552 million. After the government's decision to take money from the income of several institutions in order to make donations to this campaign, the Confederation of Public Employees' Unions filed a criminal complaint as a result of the salary cuts of the staff of many institutions such as MEB, BOTAŞ, General Directorate of Forestry, Ministry of Justice, Supreme Court and Social Service Provincial Directorates.
A donation campaign initiated by the metropolitan municipalities with CHP administration was terminated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and their bank accounts were blocked. Regarding this decision, the Ankara Bar Association issued a statement, saying: "Although the aforementioned circular and blocking process enforced by the Ministry of Internal Affairs are clearly unlawful, the provision of social services belongs neither exclusively to the local governments nor to the central government."
|Date||Confirmed cases||Deaths||Recoveries||Intubated patients||Severe cases||Number of tests|
|11 March 2020||1||1||0||0||- [a]||-||-||-||-||-|
|12 March 2020||0||1||0||0||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|13 March 2020||4||5||0||0||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|14 March 2020||1||6||0||0||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|15 March 2020||12||18||1||1||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|16 March 2020||29||47||0||1||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|17 March 2020||41||98||1||2||-||-||-||-||-||8002|
|18 March 2020||93||191||2||3||-||-||-||-||2015||10017|
|19 March 2020||168||359||1||4||-||-||-||-||1981||11998|
|20 March 2020||311||670||5||9||-||-||-||-||3656||15624|
|21 March 2020||277||947||13||21||-||-||-||-||2952||18604|
|22 March 2020||289||1236||9||30||-||-||-||-||1738||20345|
|23 March 2020||293||1529||7||37||-||-||-||-||3672||24017|
|24 March 2020||343||1872||7||44||-||26||102||136||3952||27969|
|25 March 2020||561||2433||15||59||-||-||-||-||5035||33004|
|26 March 2020||1196||3629||16||75||-||-||-||-||7286||40290|
|27 March 2020||2069||5698||17||92||16||42||241||344||7533||47823|
|28 March 2020||1704||7402||16||108||28||70||309||445||7641||55464|
|29 March 2020||1815||9217||23||131||35||105||394||568||9982||65446|
|30 March 2020||1610||10827||37||168||57||162||523||725||11535||76981|
|31 March 2020||2704||13531||46||214||81||243||622||847||15422||92403|
|1 April 2020||2148||15679||63||277||90||333||692||979||14397||106799|
|2 April 2020||2456||18315||79||356||82||415||783||1101||18757||125556|
|3 April 2020||2786||20921||69||425||69||484||867||1251||16160||141716|
|Province||No. of cases||Deaths|
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