Health minister warns of daily virus caseload surge as Turkey conducts nationwide inspections
ISTANBUL / VAN
Turkey conducted nationwide inspections across all of its provinces to make sure anti-coronavirus measures are being followed strictly, after Health Minister Fahrettin Koca sounded a surge in the daily virus caseloads lately.
Governors, district governors, mayors, the heads of relevant government institutions and law enforcement units took part in the inspects following a circular issued by the Interior Ministry to all 81 provinces.
The authorities visited crowded places, such as shopping centers, marketplaces, restaurants, cafes, barbershops and beaches, to inspect how well people were adhering to physical distancing, hygiene and face mask-wearing rules.
Public transportation was also inspected as passengers are no longer allowed to stand on minibuses. The number of standing passengers on metros and subways have been limited to half the cars’ capacity. On metrobuses, passengers can travel standing with only one third of the capacity.
Those who failed to adhere to these rules were fined during the inspections.
Speaking from the eastern province of Van, where the number of cases doubled in a month, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca sounded alarming increases.
“We see a rise in the number of cases across the country,” said Koca, while adding that the rise does not show a homogeneous distribution.
“In some provinces, the number of the patients are stable. In six provinces, the numbers declined between 30 to 70 percent. But in some provinces, we are witnessing things we do not want to see,” he said.
“In comparison to last month, the number of cases in Van has doubled. We are struggling to take it under control.”
He also made calls for members of the public to protect the elderly, as “patients in intensive care units across the country are mostly above 65.”