The COVID-19 pandemic in Turkey is part of the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The disease was confirmed to have reached Turkey on 11 March 2020, after a man who had returned to Turkey from Europe, tested positive. The first death due to COVID-19 in the country occurred on 15 March 2020 and by 1 April, it was confirmed that COVID-19 had spread all over Turkey.
As of 20 August 2020, the total number of confirmed cases in the country is over 254,500. Among these cases, 234,700 have recovered and 6,000 have died. On 18 April 2020, the total number of positive test results surpassed that of Iran, making it the highest in the Middle East.Turkey also surpassed China in confirmed total cases on 20 April 2020. The rapid increase of the confirmed cases in Turkey did not overburden the public healthcare system, and the preliminary case-fatality rate remained lower compared to many European countries.
The ministry also decided to subject any passengers arriving from China to additional screenings and quarantine anyone showing the symptoms of the coronavirus infection. The screenings were later expanded to include countries that reported a high number of confirmed cases. Other precautionary measures on the airports included infrared guns, disinfection at all customs gates and the handing out of free surgical masks and instruction leaflets.On 31 January, the Turkish government sent a plane to airlift 34 Turkish citizens, seven Azerbaijanis, seven Georgians and one Albanian from Wuhan. China ordered 200 million masks from Turkey in addition to Turkey’s yearly production of 150 million masks.
According to the statement made by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, 5,392 out of 10,330 citizens who returned from Umrah were quarantined in state dormitories in Ankara while the remaining 4,938 were quarantined in Konya.On 15 March, Koca announced that the number of confirmed cases increased to 18, with 7 of the new cases originating from Europe and 3 cases originating from the United States. The Ministry of the Interior announced that venues like pavilions, discotheques, bars and night clubs will be closed. A day later, the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs announced a nationwide ban on prayer gatherings in mosques.
On 1 April 2020, Minister Koca confirmed that there were 2,148 new cases and 63 more deaths. The total number of cases increased to 15,679 and the death toll reached 277. The total number of tests performed so far was 106,799. At the same time, it was announced that there were confirmed cases for the first time in all 81 provinces and there were deaths reported in 39 provinces. The province with the highest number of cases and deaths was Istanbul with 8,852 cases and 117 deaths. It was followed by İzmir with 853 cases and 18 deaths, and Ankara with 712 cases and 7 deaths.
The Grand National Assembly of Turkey announced that no visitors would be accepted to parliament between 13–31 March.On 13 March, Turkey announced its decision to stop all flights to and from Germany, France, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, Austria and the Netherlands starting from Saturday at 08.00 am until 17 April.On the same day, Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gül announced that meetings in all open and closed prisons, the use of family meeting rooms and transfers between prisons were delayed for two weeks.On 14 March, following a meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, the two countries temporarily stopped land and air transportation.
On 18 March, President Erdoğan urged public to stay at home and not to visit hospitals outside emergency cases. Erdoğan further stated that public banks will deliver pensions to retirees above the age of 76 to their homes, with the minimum amount of payment for retired people being ₺1,500. A ₺100 billion economic measures package was also announced by the government to address financial issues of companies and low-income households. With this package the government promised to raise the Credit Guarantee Fund (KGF) limit, postpone tax liabilities, SGK premium payments and credit debts of employers in sectors most affected by the crisis.