One out of every six Turkish lawmaker contracted COVID-19 – report

Nearly 100 of Turkey’s 584 lawmakers in parliament have contracted the coronavirus, accounting for almost 20 percent of the country’s legislators, Duvar news site reported on Saturday.

Close to 20 lawmakers are receiving treatment in their homes or in hospital and one lawmaker with Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), has contracted the deadly virus twice, it said. 

The report by Duvar arrives just over eight months into the pandemic, which is seeing a second peak in Turkey, prompting officials to introduce on Saturday strict measures to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Fifty-seven of the 289 AKP’s lawmakers have tested positive for coronavirus, followed by a total of 18 of the main opposition Republican People’s Party ‘s (CHP) 138 lawmakers and 11 of the 56 lawmakers of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Duvar said.

Last week, officials took a number of measures in Turkish parliament to stem the spread of the virus, including a shortening of general committee and commission meetings, while older MPs and those with chronic illnesses are not expected to attend parliament in the upcoming weeks unless necessary. 

Turkey recorded on Saturday recorded its highest daily number of new COVID-19 patients - 5,532 people - as the country's first weekend curfew since June came into effect.

The virus claimed the lives of 135 on the same day, bringing the country’s death toll since March to 12,219.

Turkey’s leading medical association on Saturday announced that a total 160 health care workers had died after contracting the virus while 40,000 workers in the field had contracted COVID-19.

The Turkish government does not publicly report confirmed COVID-19 cases involving people without symptoms of the deadly virus, a policy which has come under criticism for concealing the true scope of the pandemic in the country.

A total of 15 healthcare workers died in the last 10 days alone,  SoL news site cited the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) as saying.