WHO calls on Turkey to follow its COVID-19 reporting guides

ISTANBUL (AP) — The World Health Organization’s office in Turkey has reiterated its call for reporting COVID-19 data in line with WHO guidances to “harmonize data collection and response measures.”

WHO’s statement comes days after Turkey’s health minister revealed that the daily COVID-19 figures published by the ministry since July 29 reflected only patients with symptoms, excluding asymptomatic positive cases.

Critics have questioned the veracity of the case and death toll numbers Turkey has reported during the pandemic.

The WHO statement commended Turkey on its increased testing capacity and contact tracing efforts. It said, “Turkey has been isolating all COVID-19 positive cases, regardless of their symptoms.”

It added that the WHO has been consulting with members, including Turkey, to improve reporting and data collection.

The WHO defines confirmed cases as “a person with laboratory confirmation of COVID-19 infection, irrespective of clinical signs and symptoms.”

But on Thursday, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told reporters: “We are talking about people with symptoms. We are giving this as the daily number of patients.”

The latest official numbers from Friday show 321,512 confirmed patients and 8,325 deaths from COVID-19 since March.

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