Although the COVID-19 cases in the capital Ankara seem doubling than those in the country’s biggest city Istanbul, the figures may change due to the return of vacationers from Anatolia to Istanbul in the next few weeks, said a member of Turkish Health Ministry’s Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board on Friday.
Afsin Emre Kayipmaz said the number of coronavirus cases has increased in Ankara due to the location of the capital, which is the middle of the country’s transportation network.
He said in the first phase of the pandemic, Ankara was very good at complying with the rules, but since June 1, when the normalization process began, the measures were neglected.
Kayipmaz said the normalization actually was meant for work but people took liberty and engaged in social activities such as weddings and engagement ceremonies. He said due to these irresponsible behaviors, Ankara has become the epicenter of the virus in the country.
“This danger is not only for Ankara but also for other metropolitan cities in the country,” he said.
“It is in our hands to prevent this problem. People returning to Istanbul from their hometowns and holiday destinations should continue to follow the rules and preventive measures. If possible, they should stay home for a while,” he said.
All the cities will face the same danger if socialization is not restricted, he added.
The country’s overall infection count reached 286,455 with 1,512 new cases, according to Health Ministry data. Over 1,219 more patients recovered over the past 24 hours, bringing the total recoveries to 255,407. The virus-linked death toll, meanwhile, rose to 6,895 as 58 more people succumbed to the disease.
The novel virus, which surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December, has infected over 2,817 million people, and claimed more than 909,600 lives in 188 countries and regions, according to the US Johns Hopkins University.
*Writing by Fahri Aksut