ISTANBUL

Turkey successfully overcome the coronavirus pandemic with its large amount of intensive care unit beds that neared the total number in whole Europe and over a million health personnel, the country’s president said on Saturday.

“Turkey has successfully got through this process with the number of intensive care unit beds, which neared the total capacity of that in whole Europe, and nearly 1,100,000 health personnel,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the opening ceremony of Marmara University Prof. Dr. Asaf Ataseven Hospital in Istanbul.

He said thanks to the general health insurance system in Turkey — which is so rare in the world in terms of its coverage — the country has reached a position that it can give free-of-charge health service to its citizens.

Erdogan reminded that two emergency hospitals with 1,008 beds each, Basaksehir Cam and Sakura City Hospital with 2,682 beds, and Okmeydani Prof. Dr. Cemil Tascioglu City Hospital with 600 beds were also opened in Istanbul during the outbreak.

The president also warned Turkish nation of increased case and death numbers from the coronavirus, and called on people to continue using masks, keeping social distance and giving importance to hygiene.

Strengthening health infrastructure

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told the ceremony that Turkey has taken another step by opening another hospital that will add further strength to the country’s health system.

Noting that the novel coronavirus outbreak showed the world the importance of investing in health, Koca said it also shows why these investments should be in the center of the development.

He added that countries need a solid health system, developed infrastructure and committed health workers more in such times.

“Firstly, the risk of outbreak isn’t over,” Koca said, adding the normalization process does not mean to taking steps backward.

He also said that controlled social life is also a key during the process, and urged people to keep adhering to social distancing rules.

Speaking about the hospital, Koca said it was partially opened due to the COVID-19 fight.

“When it starts serving with full capacity, the hospital will have 155 polyclinics, 535 beds, including 60 in intensive care and 304 single bed rooms, and 28 operation theaters,” Koca added.

*Writing by Sena Guler

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