(Bloomberg) — Turkey has reported a spike in its daily tally of new coronavirus infections after the government abandoned a controversial policy of excluding asymptomatic cases under pressure from the opposition.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said late Wednesday that a total of 28,351 Covid-19 cases had been registered in the past 24 hours.
“That includes anyone who tested positive no matter whether they have a symptom or not,” Koca said in a press conference. The tally included 6,814 people defined as “patients” with symptoms, down from 7,381 on Tuesday but more than three times the number on Nov. 1. The daily death toll rose to 168, a record.
Turkey’s move to not report all new cases — introduced in July — had been condemned by leading opposition politicians including Istanbul mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, who also said the number of deaths from coronavirus in his city exceeded the official figure.
Turkey has officially reported about half a million cases since the outbreak began nine months ago. Wednesday’s data highlighted the dilemma facing policy makers trying to contain the current surge in new cases without again shutting down the economy.
Turkey has signed a deal to buy 50 million vaccine doses from China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd, Koca said.
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