A Turkish doctor died and more than 600 healthcare workers have been infected with the novel coronavirus, the health minister announced on Wednesday, without disguising his grief over the worsening situation.
“The number of our doctor friends, nurses or other healthcare personnel affected by the novel coronavirus is high. This figure, which I reluctantly announce, is 601,” Minister Fahrettin Koca told a news conference, with a voice on the verge of crying.
One of the doctors involved in the fight against the pandemic died Wednesday after having contracted COVID-19, his son announced on Twitter.
That was the first known death of a doctor in Turkey from coronavirus.
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Koca said 2,148 people had tested positive for coronavirus and 63 had died in the past 24 hours, a sharp increase pushing the death toll to 277.
Turkey has thus far recorded a total of 15,679 cases, he added.
The health minister for the first time provided the breakdown of the cases by region.
More than half of the total cases in Turkey were recorded in Turkey’s largest city of Istanbul, where 117 deaths and 8,852 cases were registered.
It was followed by the major western city of Izmir and the capital Ankara.
Turkey has taken a series of measures to try to limit the spread of the coronavirus from closing schools, quarantining around 50 towns and areas and imposing curfew for elderly people aged over 65.