Turkey’s COVID-19 deaths return to April levels as daily cases soar

The Turkish Health Ministry’s official figures released on Friday showed 93 COVID-19 related deaths in the last 24 hours, 3,045 new patients diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, and a 69.9 percent occupancy rate in intensive care units.

Since March, 11,326 people have died after contracting COVID-19 in Turkey, and the country currently has 47,809 active cases on record.

But  leading medical organisations said the actual number of infections may be at least 350,000 higher, as the health ministry only records and reports cases that show symptoms.


Turkey's coronavirus figures for Nov. 13
Turkey's coronavirus figures for Nov. 13. Source: https://covid19.saglik.gov.tr/


The latest spike takes daily fatalities back to levels last seen at the height of the crisis in April, with a similar number of daily diagnoses.

Turkey is slowly re-introducing pandemic restrictions, which were much stricter when the infection rate reached a similar point earlier this year.

A partial curfew for the elderly has been reinstated, and an extensive ban on smoking in open air public spaces was introduced recently as part of new restrictions. Some provinces also implemented staggered shifts for public servants to ease the crowds on public transport at rush hour. Nationwide, shops and businesses are required to close by 22:00.

As part of the government’s campaign to encourage use of masks, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca shared several videos showing COVID-19 patients on Friday.

“If we don’t distance ourselves from our old normal today, we may have distances that we can’t cover between us and our loved ones tomorrow,” Koca said, calling mask wearing a “conscientious duty to our country”.

Turkey’s figures have been climbing steadily since June, when the first wave of restrictions was lifted, a move critics claim happened too rapidly.