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Turkey's Coronavirus Deaths Up to 131

Turkey's Coronavirus Deaths Up to 131

Sunday, 29 March, 2020 - 16:30
A worker in a protective suit disinfects a bus due to coronavirus concerns in Istanbul, Turkey March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
Asharq Al-Awsat

Turkey's deaths from the coronavirus increased by 23 to 131 on Sunday, as the number of confirmed cases rose by 1,815 to 9,217, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

Some 105 patients have recovered so far.

The minister added on Twitter that 9,982 tests had been conducted in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of tests carried out in Turkey to 65,446 since the outbreak began.

The tests in the last 24 hours show Turkey has almost reached its target of conducting 10,000 tests per day.

Turkey has implemented travel restrictions, limitations on the use of public space, a partial curfew for senior citizens and a $15 billion economic support package to help ailing sectors.

The Turkish lira has fallen about 8 percent against the US dollar this year amid the global sell-off sparked by the pandemic.

Turkey's central bank expects high first-quarter growth thanks to a strong January and February, its deputy governor was quoted as saying on Sunday.

Despite the comments from Oguzhan Ozbas, ratings agencies have said Turkey could be hit hard by the pandemic.

Moody's said Turkey would be hit hard, with growth contracting by 7 percent cumulatively in the second and third quarters.

Fitch Ratings said there were "large downside risks" to what was supposed to be a 2020 growth rate of about 3.5 percent, while both Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank cut their 2020 growth forecasts.

Turkey had been at the start of a rebound from a recession caused by a 2018 currency crisis.

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