Istanbul hospital reports doubling in COVID-19 complaints

The dean of Istanbul University's Çapa Hospital said the number of people visiting the facility for treatment for COVID-19 have surged, Milliyet newspaper reported on Monday.

“Coronavirus-related applications at the hospital have doubled and among those are people with severe pneumonia cases. The cases will only increase if the public ignores warnings. This is no joke,” Milliyet cited Tufan Tükek as saying.

Istanbul, Turkey's largest city as well as its financial and cultural hub, accounts for nearly half of all COVID-19 cases in Turkey.

The Turkish government has gradually eased curbs on population movement since mid-May and reopened restaurants and cafes in addition to many other public areas on June 1.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on July 18 that a nationwide curfew for the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, to be held between July 30 and Aug. 3, is not part of the government’s plans. It had imposed such a curfew during the Eid al-Fitr vacation at the end of May.

“This was helpful,” Tükek said of the previous holiday measures. “But this time there is no lockdown. On top of that, people have become more complacent.

“Home visits and exchanging physical greetings may cause further complications. Let’s use phones to celebrate each other’s Eid,” Tükek said, echoing health experts’ warnings.