Coronavirus in Wuhan, China

Turkish scientists believe coronavirus will wane in two months

WHO has praised the measures taken against the spread of the coronavirus in Turkey, where only one case of COVID-19 has been detected but the schools will close next week.

A commission of Turkish scientists tasked with managing the crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic and preventing its spread through Turkey, says that the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will begin to lose strength with the arrival of higher temperatures, something that could happen in just two months.

Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca echoed this information on Thursday through his official Twitter account, where he noted that according to experts the new coronavirus appears to have the typology of a winter virus. “If we can implement the necessary measures to prevent the virus from spreading, probably life will return to normal within two months,” he said.

The commission’s predictions that the coronavirus pandemic is likely to wane with the arrival of the summer heat have also been ratified by Chinese epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan, the 2003 discoverer of the SARS-causing coronavirus and senior adviser to the Chinese government, who on Thursday established June as the probable month in which the pandemic will have practically disappeared.

WHO commends Turkey’s measures to prevent spread of coronavirus

The World Health Organization (WHO) this week praised the containment measures taken by Turkey against the spread of the virus, where the first case – and so far the only one – was detected on March 10th in a Turkish citizen who travelled to Europe. Irshad Shaikh, head of the WHO health security program in Turkey, highlighted preventive measures and the good organisation of the Turkish government, which has been “vigilant and cautious”.

Shaikh emphasized that in both legislation and risk management, or testing and monitoring of possible cases, “Turkey has taken this very seriously.” “Turkey is an advanced country, and most of the systems (necessary to contain the virus) were already in place. What was needed was to make sure that there was a rapid response to this outbreak,” he added.

Turkish scientists have in fact developed a test capable of detecting this new coronavirus up to 12 times faster, which is already being exported to other countries due to its high demand. On Wednesday, the Health Minister confirmed that the Turkish health authorities had used this detection kit developed in Turkey together with the PRC method, used in the rest of the world, for the more than 2,000 tests carried out so far in the country.

Empty shelves in supermarkets

However, despite the fact that Turkey has only registered a single case that was quickly detected and quarantined, on Wednesday -the day after it was detected- many citizens ran to supermarkets and pharmacies to buy hygiene and disinfection products, toilet paper, and foods like flour, milk, sugar or pasta. Some stores had to impose quotas to avoid running out of stock.

In large cities such as Istanbul, where disinfectant gel dispensers have been installed at stations and stops, it is easy to see people on the street wearing a mask, and many public transport users avoid using it these days, which has made even more difficult the impossible traffic in this metropolis of almost 16 million inhabitants.

Meanwhile, this Thursday the Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalın announced that football matches will be played behind closed doors until mid-April, and Turkish schools will close from March 16th to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which to date has infected almost 130,000 people in 116 countries and caused about 4,700 deaths.