Daily COVID-19 cases in Istanbul increased ten-fold, Health Minister says
The number of new infections in Turkey’s most populated city of Istanbul, has increased ten-fold since the beginning of March, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.
Turkey reported almost 56,000 new daily COVID-19 infections on Friday.
Infections in the country have surged after the authorities eased restrictions on the population on March 1, when daily cases stood at less than 10,000. The government lifted weekend lockdowns in areas deemed at low and medium risk and allowed restaurants and cafes to reopen, including in Istanbul, the country’s largest and most populated city.
COVID-19 cases hit a daily 55,791 yesterday and the total number of infections in the country of 85 million rose to 3.74 million, the Health Ministry data showed.
It reported 253 new fatalities, pushing up the death toll to 33,454.
After meeting with Istanbul provincial health administrators on Friday, Health Minister Koca said that 40 percent of the total cases has been registered in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest and most populated city.
“The situation in Istanbul determines the situation of the country. If we can protect Istanbul, we will be able to protect our country,” Koca said via his social media.
Some of the curbs have been reinstated. Full weekend lockdowns will be in force during the holy month of Ramadan, which starts on April 13, when restaurants will be open just for takeaway and delivery.
Meanwhile, three of Turkey’s seven COVID-19 vaccine candidates are in the human trial stage, Vice President Fuat Oktay said, state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Friday.
“Necessary work is being done to start mass production of the vaccine following approval by Turkey’s drug regulatory authority Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency,” he said.
Some 10.85 million people in the country have received a first vaccination against COVID-19 under a programme that started in mid-January, while 7.57 million second doses have been administrated, the Health Ministry data showed.