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Turkey not counting positive COVID-19 cases unless there are symptoms, health minister admits

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca Copyright Burhan Ozbilici/AP
Copyright Burhan Ozbilici/AP
By Michael Daventry
Published on Updated
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Health Minister Fahrettin Koca sought to draw a difference between COVID-19 "patients" and "cases" after an opposition MP suggested the true figures were 20 times higher

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COVID-19 figures published daily by Turkey exclude the number of people who have tested positive but are showing no symptoms, the country’s health minister Fahrettin Koca has admitted.

Koca said all official figures released since 29 July referred only to “patients”— meaning those exhibiting coronavirus symptoms.

He did not say how many additional asymptomatic patients had been recorded in Turkey but said they made up “a majority” of all cases.

Health authorities around the world have said some people are able to carry COVID-19 without showing any symptoms and transmit it to others, who can develop symptoms.

Most western jurisdictions report asymptomatic case within the total number of positive cases.

The Turkish health minister's statement came after an opposition MP Murat Emir claimed the true number of cases was 20 times higher than official figures.

He accused the government of concealing the true scale of Turkey’s COVID-19 outbreak.

Opposition MP Murat Emir claimed the true number of cases was much higher

But Koca rejected Emir’s claim that the total number of positive cases identified on September 10 was 29,377 — markedly higher than the 1,512 patients announced by the health ministry that day.

He told journalists at a press conference on Wednesday evening: “We should all know that not every case is a patient, because there are those who have tested positive but are showing no symptoms at all.

"These create the majority [of cases]."

He said 1,391 "patients" tested positive for coronavirus in Turkey on September 30 but did not say how many additional asymptomatic people there were.

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