ANKARA: Turkeys government is being accused of hiding the true extent of the country's coronavirus outbreak after the health minister revealed that the daily COVID-19 figures published by his ministry reflect only patients with symptoms and not all positive cases.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca acknowledged during a news conference late on Wednesday (Sep 30) that since Jul 29, Turkey has been reporting the number of patients being cared for in hospitals or at their homes.
The count did not include asymptomatic positive cases, he said, ignoring a question about the number of new positive coronavirus cases per day, a key indicator of where the outbreak is headed in any country.
“We are talking about people with symptoms. We are giving this as the daily number of patients,” he told reporters.
The revelation led to an outcry on social media, with people calling on the government to reveal the true spread of the coronavirus among the population of 83 million. The hashtag asking “what Is the number of cases?” in Turkish was trending on Thursday on Twitter.
The ministers admission came after an opposition legislator, Murat Emir, claimed that the true number of daily new infections in Turkey was 19 times higher than the daily figures reported by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogans government.
Koca refuted the claim, insisting that all information published on a table showing Turkeys daily coronavirus count “is correct.”
On Thursday, Emir called on Koca to stop issuing the daily coronavirus data saying; “Nobody believes it. It has no scientific value. No one takes it seriously.”
“The government is battling against the figures instead of battling the outbreak,” he said.
The Turkish Medical Association, which has for months accused the government of underreporting cases, called for transparency. The group had been questioning the daily coronavirus data after the government on Jul 29 changed the wording of the count from “case” to “patient.”
“You failed to lead the process transparently. You hid the truth. You failed to prevent the spread,” the group sRead More – Source
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Dozens killed in suspected jihadist attack in Niger
Dozens of people were killed in an attack in Niger on Saturday, in a suspected jihadist attack.
The attack took place around 12:00 CET in the Tchomo-Bangou village in Tillabéri, a western region bordering Mali.
“The assailants surrounded the village and killed up to 50 people,” a local radio journalist said anonymously. “The wounded have been evacuated to the hospital in Ouallam.”
It came on the day provisional results for the first round of the presidential election, held on December 27, were released.
Mohamed Bazoum, the candidate for the ruling Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS) and a former interior minister, is in the lead with 39.3 per cent of the votes. Bazoum has vowed to strengthen the country’s fight against Islamist groups.
The second round of the election is to be held on February 21.
Niger has been a target for jihadist attacks for years, particularly in the western and southeastern parts of the country.
On December 21, six days before the presidential poll, seven soldiers were killed in Tillabéri. In May 2020, twenty people, including children, were also killed in two of the region’s villages.
Niger votes in presidential and legislative elections
People in Niger began voting in the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday.
Mohamed Bazoum, the right-hand man of outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou is the favourite to win.
The sixty-year-old former interior minister is aiming for outright victory in the first round — something that no candidate has done before.
He’s focussing on security and education.
Over 7 million people are eligible to vote. But some voters, like Gambina Moumouni, simply want a president they can trust.
“We pray to Allah to choose us the president who has the most mercy for the people, a president who will not betray the country and who will not betray the trust of the people, that is our wish. It is also our wish that Allah may help to make the poor, the peasants, the (cattle) breeders happy.
Thirty candidates are standing including two former presidents and two former prime ministers, but according to seasoned observers in the region, the poll is arousing little enthusiasm among the population.
Niger is the world’s poorest according to the UN’s Human Development Index and also one of those hardest hit by climate change.
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