GENEVA

Turkey has been one of the countries detecting COVID-19 cases the most rapidly and it took an important step by starting treatment at an early stage, the nation’s health minister told Monday the World Health Assembly (WHA).

“It is among the best-performing countries in terms of mortality rate and burden on the health care system. Thanks to the measures taken, Turkey was able to delay the arrival of the virus for three months and used this time to prepare its hospitals and health care system for the outbreak,” Fahrettin Koca said.

He noted that the occupancy rate in Turkey’s hospitals is still below 40% and below 60% in intensive care units.

“Turkey is one of the few countries providing all services to its citizens free of charge under universal health coverage. We are always ready to exchange knowledge and experiences,” said the minister.

Turkey confirmed a total of 149,435 coronavirus cases as of Sunday. 109,962 of them have fully recovered while the death toll stands at 4,140.

The two-day 73rd WHA is the decision-making body of the World Health Organization and it is attended by delegations from all 194 WHO member states.

Earlier WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a speech that he will launch an independent review of the organization’s handling of COVID-19 crisis as soon as possible.

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