On a list led by China, Turkey is 11th out of the countries that have conducted the highest number of tests against the coronavirus. Figures by the worldometer website, which derives data from official government reports and media outlets, shows Turkey ran 11.9 million tests since the outbreak was first reported in the country in March and is ahead of countries like the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Canada and Australia in terms of test numbers. France is one rank ahead of Turkey with more than 12.7 million tests.
Turkey took strict measures as soon as the first virus patients were reported back in March and managed to increase the number of tests in a short time. Apart from importing test kits, Turkey developed its own kits to reduce the diagnosis time. Test numbers increased in parallel with the growing number of contact tracing crews, who make door-to-door visits to detect the contacts of positive patients as quickly as possible.
The country was set to begin on Thursday conducting a second round of random screening across the country to determine public immunity against the coronavirus, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said Wednesday. The first round of random screenings conducted on around 150,000 people in June, found that 2.5 per 1,000 people tested positive for COVID-19. Speaking at a press conference after a weekly meeting with the country’s Coronavirus Science Board, Koca said the second round of tests would include around the same number of people, as health experts hope to find out where the rate stands after four months.