Turkey holidays: Country could be at risk of quarantine after coronavirus figures row

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Turkey has been a popular choice among tourists this year along with Greece and Cyprus. The country has managed to keep its coronavirus cases lower than other Mediterranean hotspots and has therefore remained on the UK’s travel corridor list. The country has reported 318,663 cases at the time of writing and just over 8,000 deaths.

This is below other popular holiday destinations Spain, France and the UK.

Turkey is also currently exempt from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice against all non-essential international travel.

The FCDO says “this is based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.”

However, on Wednesday it was reportedly revealed that the government did not publish the full number of daily positive coronavirus cases but only those who are symptomatic.

Turkey’s health minister also refuted a claim that the case number had been reportedly 19 times higher than the official figures.

The official number of daily coronavirus cases in Turkey have remained low in recent days.

The country hasn’t had a spike like other countries across Europe are currently experiencing.

But politicians and medical professionals have said the number of coronavirus cases are actually higher.

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During his weekly news conference, Turkey’s Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca said the number of daily new COVID-19 “patients,” which he defined as those who are symptomatic, was more important than the number of new “cases,” which include those who do not show symptoms.

He added: “Not all cases are patients because there are those who show no symptoms at all even though their tests come back positive. These create the vast majority.”

Turkey’s Health Ministry changed the wording of the data it shares daily in July.

From July 29, the data showed the daily number of new “patients”.

Before then, the data showed the daily number of new “cases”.

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A document was shared by a member of Turkey’s Republican People’s Party this week which reportedly showed that figures were higher than what had been reported on September 10.

The document showed that there were 29,377 positive cases on September 10.

The official figures stated that there were 1,512 new patients announced by the Health Ministry on that day.

However, Dr Koca said the document showed the wrong number of tests and had no date on it.

He said: “I want to say that all the information on the table we give is correct.”

One of the main criteria for whether a country could be removed from the UK’s travel corridor list is if it is reporting more than 20 cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day period.

Turkey is currently in the green with 13.4 cases per 100,000 people.

But if the country has been reporting only symptomatic patients then the country’s infection rate could be a lot higher.

FCDO spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “We are monitoring the international situation very closely and keeping our travel advice under constant review so that it reflects our latest assessment of risks to British people.

“Anyone wanting our latest travel advice updates can sign up to alerts on the FCO website or follow our Travel Advice social media accounts.”

Turkey’s tourism board and Turkey’s Ministry of Health have been contacted for comment.

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