Turkey to ship crucial coronavirus aid to hard-hit US, Erdogan says

Turkey to ship crucial coronavirus aid to hard-hit US, Erdogan says
The Turkish presidency confirmed PPE shipment will be sent to the United States after a request for help by Washington.
2 min read
28 April, 2020
The shipment includes 500,000 surgical masks [Getty]
Turkey will send hundreds of thousands of items of personal protective equipment (PPE) including face masks to the United States to aid in its efforts against the coronavirus pandemic, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.

"At a time when even developed countries are asking for Turkey's support, we have offered our support to a wide geography, from the Balkans to Africa," Erdogan told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

A Turkish military plane will on Tuesday deliver medical aid including 500,000 surgical masks, 400 N95 masks, 4,000 overalls, 2,000 litres of disinfectant, 1,500 goggles and 500 face shields, the presidency said. The shipments comes after a request by Washigton, it added.

It will arrive at the Joint Base Andrews air base in the state of Maryland on Tuesday, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said in a tweet.

"We stand in solidarity with the United States, our NATO ally, against Covid-19," Altun added.

The US has become the country hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, registering both the highest number of cases and deaths from the highly contagious respiratory disease.

Washington has reported more than one million Covid-19 cases, including 56,803 fatalities as of Monday.

According to Johns Hopkins University data, Turkey is the seventh worst hit country in the world in terms of total coronavirus cases.

The country has retained a relatively low number of deaths despite reporting more than 110,000 cases of the virus, with the toll currently standing at 2,900. Doctors and opposition figures have raised concerns over underreporting, however.
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The number of new reported cases and deaths has been on the decline over the past week, with President Erdogan forseeing a "return to normal life" by the end of May.

On Monday, Erdogan announced the imposition of a three-day curfew during the coming weekend in 31 Turkish provinces. 

The same provinces have been subjected to weekend curfews for the past three weeks, including a four-day curfew to mark the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan last week.

The weekend curfews will continue until the end of the holy month, Erdogan said, adding that a schedule for a return to normality would soon be released.

"We are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I hope we can celebrate two bayrams [holidays] after Ramadan," he added.

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