Turkey mulling new measures in Istanbul as COVID-19 cases double in dozens of districts

The Turkish government may consider new pandemic measures in Istanbul,  where there has been a doubling of COVID-19 cases in close to 30 districts, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Monday.

The measures include changes to public transportation and remote-working as the city of 16 million registered a 50 percent hike in infections in 28 districts, Koca said, according to Diken news site.

Istanbul, which hosts a sixth of the country’s population, is home to 40 percent of Turkey’s over 360, 000 cases.

Turkey has registered a surge in infections in recent weeks back to figures reported in May, before it lifted outbreak measures.

“Unfortunately, we have been unable to maintain the success that we had for a long period,’’ Koca said following the Health Ministry’s Science Board meeting in Istanbul. “The point we have arrived at calls for us to be more disciplined and rule based.’’

Additional trips for buses, metrobuses and trams, and the implementation of remote-working for employees who do not have to be physically present for work are some of the measures which were discussed in the meeting, Koca said.

“We hope to prevent, as much as we can, the communal transportation of workers and civil servants, who form the majority of the population and are faced with the (pandemic) risk daily,’’ the country’s top health official added.