Turkey, WHO sign deal to open office in Istanbul

Turkey and the World Health Organization (WHO) signed an agreement on Thursday to open an WHO office in Istanbul for humanitarian and health emergencies as well as joint efforts against coronavirus in the region.

“We expect WHO to become a more proactive structure in the new period, especially in emergencies,” Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said at a press conference with WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Henri Kluge.

“Our aim is to give the necessary response to the humanitarian situations that can be encountered in this geography,” Kluge said.

Earlier in the day, Koca reported 1,024 new COVID-19 cases, raising the overall number in Turkey to 209,962.

Meanwhile, 18 people died in the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 5,300, while 2,879 more patients recovered, raising the total recoveries to 190,390, the minister tweeted.

Currently, 1,179 patients are being treated at the intensive care units with 399 intubated, he noted.

Turkish health professionals conducted 50,102 tests in the past 24 hours, bringing the overall number of tests to 3,832,623, according to Koca.

Turkey reported the first COVID-19 case on March 11.