Those who die of Covid-19 are repeatedly registered as “natural deaths” and thus removed from the statistics, says the chairman of the Turkish Medical Association TTB.
The number of corona deaths and infected people is increasing rapidly in Turkey and Northern Kurdistan. The reason for the unexpectedly fast increase could be, apart from the inadequate countermeasures, the government’s policy to systematically play down the corona danger. According to official figures, the current number in Turkey is about 47,000 cases of infection and 1,006 deaths.
The chairman of the Turkish Medical Association TTB, Sinan Adiyaman, spoke to German media DPA.
The TTB head separately cast doubt on the official number of deaths, saying the number of Covid-19 cases was rising, but the corresponding graph of deaths was not developing accordingly.
Authorities don’t use the “codes” recommended by the WHO when reporting the deaths, he said, arguing that the toll is higher than shown in official data.
Adiyaman doubts the official statistics of the Turkish Ministry of Health and criticises that so far the death of “patients who tested negative but whose computer tomography was positive – i.e. compatible with Covid-19 disease – has been recorded as natural death, death due to an infectious disease or viral pneumonia”. This is contrary to the WHO guidelines. “Of course, the figures are higher than is indicated,” he notes.
Ministry of Health maintains its policy of trivialisation
Meanwhile the intensive care units are bursting at the seams. Adiyaman points out that there are 4,600 intensive care beds in Istanbul and that these were 80 percent occupied in only two to three days. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca earlier put the intensive care occupancy rate across the country at 63 per cent.
The occupancy rate will increase, Adiyaman warns, adding Turkey is far from being prepared for what is likely to be worse to come.
To mitigate the burden, Adiyaman suggested transferring coronavirus patients from hospitals in Istanbul to three or four isolated clinics in other parts of the city.
The government has already shared plans to build two pandemic hospitals in the city within 45 days.
This should have been planned in early February, Adiyaman says, adding: “We are now in the fourth week of the virus’ spread in Turkey and see that we were very unprepared here.”