ISTANBUL (AP) – Turkey’s weekly regional COVID-19 figures keep increasing as the country keeps relaxed restrictions in place for now.
Health ministry statistics released late Saturday showed the rate of infection as more than 251 cases per 100,000 in Istanbul, the country’s largest city – up 41% since last week. That means about 40,000 new infections in Istanbul alone, which has quadrupled from numbers first released six weeks ago.
The government has divided its 81 provinces into four risk categories and said it would evaluate restrictions at a local level every two weeks. The latest figures show many cities turning “very high-risk” or “high risk.”
Turkey’s president announced this week that relaxed restrictions, like in-restaurant dining and reduced curfews, would continue “for some more time” despite rising infections, but said tougher measures could be brought back.
According to measures announced in early March, weekend curfews remained in place in “very high-risk” cities and Sunday lockdowns continued in “high risk” cities. Restaurants are open for indoor and outdoor dining in all the categories other than “very high-risk,” and nighttime curfews are applied across the country.
The seven-day average of infections across the country has climbed over 18,000, hitting daily rates last seen in December. The number of patients in critical care and deaths are also rising. The total reported death toll in Turkey is 29,959.
Facing an economic downturn, the government has been under pressure from business owners to resume operations during the pandemic.
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