Turkish COVID-19 infections rise to highest level in almost four months

Turkey recorded 1,703 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, the highest figure since May 15.

The number of daily infections has more than doubled from below the 800 recorded when the government lifted many pandemic restrictions at the start of June. Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca urged citizens to comply with protective measures, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

"The number of seriously ill patients continues to rise. If we follow the measures together, the virus will be defeated eventually," Koca said on Twitter.

The Health Ministry also reported 57 new deaths on Monday. That compared with around 20-25 daily fatalities in late May.

Although reported cases and deaths from COVID-19 are on the rise, many Turks are still distrustful of the official figures.

Most Turkish citizens do not believe the Health Ministry’s pandemic data, according to a nationwide survey by leading polling company MetroPOLL published on Monday. Almost 59 percent of respondents said they did not think that the government disclosed true infection numbers.

As the number of cases rise, Turkey's Education and Science Workers' Union (Eğitim-Sen) is urging the government to suspend the resumption of face-to-face lessons in schools, which are due to restart on Sept. 21. The labour union believes that infection levels are too high, Diken news website reported.

"Education cannot start under these conditions where the pandemic cannot be contained, even partially, and adequate and necessary measures are not taken in educational institutions," Eğitim-Sen said in a statement.

Turkey introduced a system of remote education via online live streams and television broadcasts on March 23 after schools were closed as part of efforts to curb the spread of the virus.