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Turkey to take over medical face mask factories

March 24, 2020 at 10:39 am

Health officials carry out disinfecting works at Sultanahmet Square as a precaution against coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in Istanbul, Turkey on 21 March 2020. [Elif Öztürk – Anadolu Agency]

Turkish police have threatened take over the country’s medical face mask factories if they did not start selling their stock to the government, news agencies reported on Monday.

News reports said that the police gave an ultimatum to the factories and they have up until 8pm Turkish time on 23 March to decide.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters on Sunday that the police had raided depots of some local face mask producers and asked them to immediately sign contracts with the health ministry.

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Soylu said that the government would buy the face masks at a reasonable price.

On Tuesday Turkey confirmed the total number of fatalities from coronavirus had reached 37, Anadolu reported, noting that more than 20,000 tests have been done so far on people suspected of contracting the virus.

Anadolu also reported that 293 tested positive in the last 24 hours, bringing the total infected people in the country to 1,529.