Turkey to date has sent medical aid to 138 countries to help them combat the coronavirus pandemic, said Turkey’s president on Saturday.

“We have sent medical equipment and supplies to 138 countries, regardless of religion, language, race, or region,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the inauguration ceremony for a new state hospital in Istanbul.

Telling how Turkey’s exemplary efforts against the virus laid the groundwork for new opportunities in medical tourism, he added, “We’re determined to make Turkey the health center of three continents,” meaning Asia, Europe, and Africa, with Turkey at their hub.

“Thanks to the measures we took and the methods we developed, we’re among the countries that survived the epidemic with the least loss of life,” he said.

Touching on the new Kartal State Hospital, Erdogan said that it is expected to see some 100,000 surgeries a year, cancer surgery in particular.

As of Friday, Turkey registered a total of 5,186 deaths due to coronavirus, while over 178,000 people have recovered from the disease. Currently, there are more than 203,000 confirmed cases in the country.

Since originating in China last December, the pandemic has claimed over 525,500 lives in 188 countries and regions.

More than 11 million cases have been reported worldwide, while over 5.89 million patients have recovered so far, according to figures compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

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