The Latest: WHO ask Turkey for consistent virus reporting

ISTANBUL — The World Health Organization’s office in Turkey has reiterated its call for reporting coronavirus data in line with WHO guidance to “harmonize data collection and response measures.”

The statement comes days after Turkey’s health minister revealed the daily coronavirus figures published by the ministry reflected only patients with symptoms, excluding asymptomatic positive cases.

The WHO defines confirmed cases as: “A person with laboratory confirmation of COVID-19 infection, irrespective of clinical signs and symptoms.”

The WHO statement commended Turkey on its increased testing capacity and contact tracing. It said, “Turkey has been isolating all COVID-19 positive cases, regardless of their symptoms.” It added the agency has been consulting with members, including Turkey, to improve reporting and data collection.

Critics question the veracity of case and death toll numbers Turkey has reported during the pandemic.



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PRAGUE — Coronavirus infections in the Czech Republic have been on a steep rise, setting a new record high for the second straight day.

The country’s Health Ministry says the day-to-day increase in new confirmed COVID-19 cases was 3,793 on Friday, 300 more than the previous day.

The country had a total of 78,051 reported cases since the beginning of the pandemic and 699 deaths. Currently, 42,320 are ill with the virus, with 1,134 hospitalized and 221 in serious condition.

The recent surge has prompted several hospitals to postpone non-urgent operations to be able to treat COVID-19 patients.

The government has declared a state of emergency starting Monday with new restrictive measures. Health Minister Roman Prymula predicted the number of people infected in one day could be higher than 8,000 later in October.


MELBOURNE, Australia — The COVID-19 figures in Australia’s Victoria state continue to show improvement but officials are concerned about an outbreak at the country’s largest shopping center.

Victoria reported three more COVID-19 deaths and eight more cases on Saturday. The figures take the state toll to 805 and the national death count to 893.

Melbourne’s latest 14-day average stood at 12 cases, and there have been 11 cases with an unknown source in the past two weeks up to Wednesday.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews says a recent outbreak linked to southeast Melbourne’s Chadstone Shopping Centre showed why it was unsafe to ease restrictions.

Melbourne’s strict lockdown rules continue to be eased, and an overnight curfew ended last week.


WASHINGTON — Two Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have tested positive for the coronavirus, raising questions about upcoming Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett and whether additional senators may have been exposed.

North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis and Utah Sen. Mike Lee both said Friday they had tested positive for the virus. Both attended a ceremony for Barrett at the White House on Sept. 25 with President Donald Trump, who has tested positive and is hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Lee, who didn’t wear a mask at the White House event, said he had “symptoms consistent with longtime allergies.” Tillis, who did wear a mask, said he has no symptoms. Both said they will quarantine for 10 days — ending just before Barrett’s confirmation hearings begin on Oct. 12.

The positive tests come as Senate Republicans are pushing to quickly confirm Barrett in the few weeks they have before the Nov. 3 election.


SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea’s new coronavirus daily tally has remained in two digits for a third straight day as authorities called for public vigilance during one of the country’s biggest holidays.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said Saturday the 75 virus cases added in the past 24 hours took the country’s total to 24,027 and 420 deaths.

South Korea’s caseload has recently displayed a downward trajectory following a spike in new infections between early August and mid-September. Stringent social distancing rules were credited with slowing the outbreak.

But worries about a rebound in new cases have grown again as South Korea is on the traditional autumn “Chuseok” holidays this week that would certainly increase public mobility.


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