Turkey mulling return to partial lockdown as COVID-19 cases soar - Reuters

Turkey is weighing the re-implementation of coronavirus restrictions in the face of a spike in infections, including a lockdown for the younger and older population, and possibly weekend curfews, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing a senior Turkish official.

The total number of coronavirus infections in the country is about five times that reported by the Health Ministry, the official, who spoken on condition of anonymity, said.

On Tuesday, Turkey announced 1,894 more novel coronavirus patients over the last 24 hours, bringing the country's overall tally to 351,413. The death toll linked to the deadly virus currently stands at 9,445. 

But the country’s top medical association and opposition lawmakers have voiced concerns about a lack of transparency regarding the real figures, which they believe are much higher.

Turkey’s daily infections have reached their highest level since early May, before the lifting of pandemic restrictions on businesses and households.

“New measures could be enforced after looking at the process over a few weeks,” the senior official told Reuters, noting that a clearer picture of a roadmap would be available following the assessment of the impact of the partial reopening of the country’s schools earlier this month.

“It appears the number of cases is around five times the number of patients. If this trend goes higher of course some measures will be taken,” the official said.

Any new curbs would have a “narrower scope” in a bid to protect the economy, the first official said.

The cabinet is working on measures that include the “closure of restaurants and facilities at certain hours; fixed hours during which young people and over-65s can go out; or as a last step, weekend lockdowns,” the official said.