The World Health Organization and Turkey have signed an agreement to launch a WHO office in Istanbul.
Speaking in the capital Ankara, Turkey's health minister says the new office personnel would work to guide needs in combating the Covid-19 pandemic. Fahrettin Koca says he expects the WHO to have a more "proactive" structure to respond to future emergencies.
Hans Kluge, the regional director of WHO for Europe, says his visit to Turkey was his first mission abroad since February. He praised Turkey for its health infrastructure, increased testing capacity, contact tracing and the production of protective equipment and ventilators to combat the pandemic and lower death rates.
Kluge also said Turkey was successful in protecting the elderly and called the higher death rate of senior citizens in Europe a "catastrophe." Turkey imposed a full lockdown for people above 65 for several weeks and relaxed the measures in June, for some outdoor hours.
WHO already has a country office in Ankara. On Wednesday, the official statistics confirmed nearly 209,000 people tested positive for Covid-19 and 5,282 people have died in Turkey. [AP]