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Turkey to report full COVID-19 figures, health minister says

People, most wearing masks to help protect against the spread of coronavirus, walk along Istiklal street, the main shopping street in Istanbul, Friday, Oct. 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
People, most wearing masks to help protect against the spread of coronavirus, walk along Istiklal street, the main shopping street in Istanbul, Friday, Oct. 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ANKARA – Turkey will start to report its total number of coronavirus cases later this week, the country's health minister said in an interview published Sunday, after Ankara was criticized for only releasing figures for patients showing symptoms of infection.

Fahrettin Koca told the newspaper Hurriyet that asymptomatic cases would be included in Turkey’s published data from Oct. 15, which would be shared with the World Health Organization.

Last month, the minister revealed Turkey had been publishing only the daily number of patients displaying symptoms of COVID-19. This led to criticism from medical groups and opposition parties that had long questioned the accuracy of the statistics.

Turkey’s latest daily figures from Saturday showed 1,649 new patients and 56 deaths. It has reported more than 334,000 patients since the outbreak started, and 8,778 fatalities.