Turkey says COVID-19 under control in Ankara, rebuffing infection claims

Turkey’s health directorate insisted the COVID-19 outbreak remains under control in Ankara, rebuffing claims of a new spike in infections, Diken reported on Wednesday.

“The pandemic is still under control in our city. Our hospitals and all our healthcare professionals continue to be active in the fight,” Diken cited the directorate as saying.

The statement came in response to claims by Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş that infections in the city had increased back to levels seen during the first wave.

Meanwhile, the Ankara Medical Chamber (ATO) reported on Tuesday that intensive care units in pandemic hospitals were full, and similar problems were experienced in other hospitals in the city. 

ATO's report stated that there are now almost 1,000 new COVID-19 infections a day in Ankara. In recent weeks Turkey’s Health Ministry has typically confirmed just under 1,000 new daily cases for Turkey as a whole.

The directorate said in its statement that it was not possible to draw such conclusions from the data. It said Ankara’s hospital bed occupancy rate is at 50 percent capacity and intensive care bed occupancy rate is at 63 percent.

Diken reported on Tuesday that Yavaş had issued a circular due to the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the capital and said visits to the municipality’s buildings would now be limited to essential meetings.

“Unfortunately, the COVID-19 case increase in Ankara has reached the level of the early days of the outbreak,” Yavaş said. “In addition to implementing stricter measures, we will limit visits to our municipality for the health of our colleagues and the public. I invite all my fellow citizens to comply with the measures.”

In his daily Twitter update on Tuesday, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca confirmed 1,083 new COVID-19 cases and 18 deaths from the disease in Turkey in the previous 24 hours.