Mayor renews call for lockdown after Istanbul announced Turkey's COVID-19 epicentre

The mayor of Istanbul on Wednesday renewed a call for a citywide lockdown after the Turkish Health Ministry announced the city was home to 60 percent of the country’s coroanvirus cases.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has announced that the epicentre of Turkey’s COVID-19 outbreak is in Istanbul, just as we have been saying, Ekrem İmamoğlu said on Twitter.

"A decision for a lockdown in Istanbul at the very least should made without delay,’’ the mayor said.

Koca earlier on Wednesday announced that the country’s coronavirus cases had reached 15,679, of which, 8,852 were in Istanbul.

The opposition mayor of Istanbul has long-called for a curfew in Turkey’s most populous city, which is home to over 16 million people.

Out of the 277 people who have died in Turkey after contracting COVID-19, 117 were Istanbul residents.

Turkey saw its first case of the deadly virus on March 11.

Meanwhile, a leading construction union has placed banners throughout the megacity city, calling attention to the plight of construction workers forced to continue working during the pandemic.

"Why can’t we, construction workers, remain at home,’’ one banner by Inşaat-Iş said.

One Twitter user shared an image of labourers with Ostim construction, heading to work on public transportation.

"If the virus is so contagious, then sending these people to work in a closed space should be no joking matter,’’ the user said.