Ankara(ANN)-Turkey has sent 500,000 coronavirus test kits to the United States upon their request, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said yesterday.

In a speech to Turkish parliament (TBMM), Koca said Ankara aims to rapidly increase its own testing and had a target of carrying out 10,000 to 15,000 tests per day.

He also said more than 10,000 tests have so far been carried out.

“We think this number will increase in the upcoming days. Our goal is to conduct 15,000 tests per day,” he said, addressing parliament, where he briefed lawmakers about Turkey’s measures against the coronavirus.

READ: Erdogan advises Turks to stay home, acts to boost economy against coronavirus

According to the ministry, the number of the laboratories used to examine test resylts will also increase from 25 to 36. He added that all metropolises in Turkey will soon be able to conduct COVID-19 tests.

Turkey aims to bring into force a quick-diagnosis test, which will be distributed to all provinces. The kits are expected to arrive today, the country’s minister said.

Iran and Italy were responsible for the virus’ spread around the world and Europe, he added.

“Iran caused the virus to get spread to all the countries. Italy caused the spread in Europe by allowing those arriving from China to roam in the country,” he said.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca also asked lawmakers to applaud health workers for their hard work and sacrifices.

People across Turkey gave a huge round of applause, accompanied by cheers and congratulations, from their balconies and windows to show their gratitude for healthcare workers on the frontline battling coronavirus.

The US death toll from the coronavirus outbreak has reached 200 and the number of cases surged past 14,000, forcing the state of California to order a state-wide lockdown. President Donald Trump accelerated its response to the pandemic.

Some 60% of Americans are now ‘very’ or ‘somewhat worried’ they or a family member will be exposed to the coronavirus, up from 36% in February, while confidence in the government’s ability to respond has fallen sharply, a new poll showed.

Sixty-one percent of Americans are ‘very’ or ‘somewhat confident’ in the U.S. government’s ability to respond, a drop of 16% from February, the poll showed.

Trump, after initially downplaying the risks of the outbreak, last week declared a national emergency and on Monday urged Americans to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people and halt most social activities for 15 days to halt the spread of the disease.

The move came as financial markets tumbled despite a second emergency rate cut by the Federal Reserve, and Trump warned the U.S. economy could tip into recession as a result of the virus.

The Gallup poll showed increased worry about the outbreak among all major subgroups, surpassing that seen during previous health scares such as SARS, West Nile virus and anthrax.

It said the results showed a significant partisan divide among those polled, with 73% of Democrats the most worried of any group, compared to just 42% of Republicans.

Only 43% of Democrats were ‘very’ or ‘somewhat confident’ in the U.S. government’s ability to respond, down from 75% in February. By contrast, 85% of Republicans were very or somewhat confident, a one-percentage point drop from the earlier poll.

Over 85% of Americans now believe the coronavirus will have a “very” or “somewhat negative” impact on the global economy, up from 65% in the previous poll, Gallup said.

As of Friday morning, at least 14,250 people across the US have tested positive for the coronavirus, also known as Covid-19.  

More than 2,700 new cases were reported in the country in 24 hours between Wednesday morning and Thursday morning.

More than 240,000 people have now been confirmed with the coronavirus globally, of which at least 85,000 have recovered, while more than 9,800 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Italy has surpassed China in total deaths connected to the coronavirus, with the country reporting 3,405 fatalities as of Thursday.