Strict curbs may be revisited if virus cases keep rising

Strict curbs may be revisited if virus cases keep rising

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The government is weighing possible measures that could be introduced if the number of COVID-19 cases keep rising.

The confirmed daily cases, which hovered around 1,500, surpassed the number of recoveries over the past couple of days, alarming health professionals.

The Health Ministry reported 1,459 COVID-19 cases on June 13 versus 985 recoveries. On June 14 and 15, the number of people that contracted the disease jumped to 1,562 and 1,592, respectively.

If the number of daily cases exceeds 2,000, the government then may have to consider introducing localized, province-specific curfews and reintroduction of a ban on parks and picnic areas as well as events which draws crowds and imposing fines for those who do not wear face masks, in line with recommendations from the Health Ministry’s Science Board, officials told Hürriyet newspaper.

According to the officials, should the number of daily COVID-19 cases rise above 2,000 this week – which is seen very likely- the introduction of those measures may be needed to slow the spread of the disease.

The officials also noted that the spread of the disease has been gathering pace in Anatolian provinces.

Istanbul, the country’s largest city by population, was the epicenter of the outbreak with nearly 60 percent of the coronavirus cases recorded here in March and April.

However, this outbreak outlook has changed recently with the provinces in the Anatolia accounting for some 60 percent of all registered cases.

The western province of Bursa, the eastern province of Ardahan, Adana on the Mediterranean coast, and the Central Anatolian province of Konya, all have reported a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Five more provinces made the use face masks mandatory bringing the total of number of provinces where people are required to have masks on in the public to 42, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca wrote on Twitter on June 15.

In the Cizre district of the southeastern province of Şırnak, businesses voluntarily suspended operations for 10 days after the number of COVID-19 cases had increased in the town.

Members of the Science Board are expected to assess the course of the pandemic after June 1 when the government eased a series of measures as part of the normalization plan, Milliyet daily reported.

The board is expected to make recommendations regarding the precautions to be taken in light of the analysis of post-June 1 data.

Experts reckoned that the statistics for June 15, June 16 and June 17 are of crucial importance to make an assessment.

“We are moving away from the target. Our weak point is unwary optimism. Let’s be prudent optimist,” Koca warned on June 14, noting that the need for intensive care units (ICU) and ventilators are rising in the country.

In Istanbul, officials will inspect venues such as restaurants and cafes in the city’s 39 districts upon complaints that some of those businesses do not adhere to virus regulations, the governor’s office said in a statement.

Restaurants and cafes reopened earlier this month as Turkey moved towards “new normal.”

However, some of the restaurants and cafes continue to serve customers after midnight when they are supposed to close doors, and fail to heed social distancing rules, the statement added.

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