ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The number of daily reported COVID-19 infections in Turkey jumped to above 28,000 on Wednesday after, in a surprise development, the government resumed publishing all positive cases and not just the number of patients being treated for symptoms of the coronavirus.
The government was accused of hiding the full extent of the virus spread in Turkey, after it was revealed that the number of asymptomatic cases was not being included in data published since July 29. The Health Ministry was under pressure to resume publishing the total number of cases.
In a news conference following a weekly scientific advisory council meeting, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced 28,351 new infections in the past 24 hours, emphasizing that the data represented “all people whose PCR tests are positive whether they display symptoms or not.”
Turkey had previously been reporting around 6,000 daily “patients.”
Koca on Wednesday also announced 168 COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours — the highest number of fatalities in a single day since the start of the outbreak.
The total number of recorded, confirmed infections since the outbreak started now stands at 467,730, with 12,840 fatalities.
Meanwhile, Koca said Turkey has reached an agreement to receive 50 million doses of the vaccine developed by Chinese pharmaceutical company SinoVac in December, January and February.
Earlier, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a Turkish-developed vaccine could be ready for use by April, adding that his country planned to share the vaccine with other countries.
Erdogan said Turkey has repeatedly urged countries “not to sacrifice the vaccine to political and commercial ambitions” and to make it “the joint property of all humanity.”
He added: “We are planning to put the vaccine that we are developing in the service of all humanity under the best conditions possible.” He did not elaborate.
The vaccine, ERUCOV-VAC, is being developed by Erciyes University, in the central Turkish province of Kayseri and is currently undergoing phase 1 of testing.
Erciyes University Rector Mustafa Calis said this week that phase 2 testing could start soon.
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