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Turkey pledges to step up virus testing

PTI | Ankara | Updated: 19-03-2020 19:23 IST | Created: 19-03-2020 19:23 IST
Turkey pledges to step up virus testing

Turkey hopes to step up coronavirus testing to reach up to 15,000 people per day, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said in an address to parliament on Thursday. "Over 10,000 COVID-19 tests have been completed until today," he said.

"We believe the number of tests will increase even more. Our goal is to conduct at least 10-15,000 tests per day." Turkey has thus far recorded two deaths from coronavirus and a total of 191 cases. Turkish authorities have announced a series of measures to limit the spread of the virus by temporarily shutting schools and universities as well as public spaces including cinemas.

The religious affairs authority, Diyanet, ordered the closure of around 90,000 mosques in Turkey on Friday, the day of particularly important prayers in the Muslim faith. Mass prayers had already been suspended and the faithful were urged to pray at home.

Koca said the ministry has obtained the contact information for 372,000 people who have recently come from abroad. "We are monitoring them through family doctors. We called 130,000 such individuals yesterday (Wednesday) alone to brief them," he said.


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