Coronavirus hits districts unevenly in large Turkish provinces

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map released recently by Health Minister Fahrettin Koca shows that the distribution of the coronavirus cases across the country and within provinces highly differ.

The total number of cases has surpassed 38,000, with the death toll exceeding 800, according to the latest data.

Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city with a population of around 16 million, accounts for nearly 60 percent of all confirmed cases. İzmir, a province on the Aegean coast, comes second with 1,500 cases, followed by the capital Ankara with 1,000 cases.

The map the health minister unveiled provided the visual presentation for the first time of the breakdown by districts and neighborhoods in the country’s three largest provinces and raised some questions about the unevenly distribution of the cases.

Working population

Three districts in Istanbul, namely Bağcılar, Esenler and Bayrampaşa, have the largest number of confirmed coronavirus cases.

“These are working class quarters. These districts have neighborhoods with large laborer population. People who work at factories or other businesses live there…They need to go out and work. That is why I believe these working population spreads the virus,” said Professor Pınar Saip, the head of the Istanbul Medical Chamber.

“The population density in those districts are also higher. The larger the density the higher the odds for the virus to be transmitted among,” she added.

Those who live in three districts are blue-collar people with low income who cannot self-isolate themselves, according to Dr. Kutbettin Demir, the head of Istanbul Family Practitioners’ Association.

“They need to work, and they also tend to have large families which make heeding necessary hygiene rules difficult,” he said.

Demir also pointed out that all districts with large populations across the city have reported more coronavirus cases.
“Istanbul is the epicenter of the outbreak. We can easily see the problems on the field.”

Beside working-class quarters, the city’s most populous districts, such as Bakırköy and Beşiktaş, also have reported large number of virus cases. These are the districts located in the heart of Istanbul, whereas the areas close to rural settlements, including Çatalca or other remote places such as the Princes’ Islands, have fewer cases.

As far as the capital Ankara is concerned, which has around 1,000 virus patients, a closer look at the map reveals that the cases are concentrated in certain parts of the city.

The pattern in Ankara is similar to that of Istanbul. The districts that are centrally located, including Çankaya and Mamak, have more cases.

In the crowded Keçiören and Yenimahalle districts, both the number of cases and the number of patients in critical condition are high. In the Çayyolu neighborhood, its location relatively off the center, for instance, there have been much fewer cases.

In İzmir, the country’s third largest province by population, the most of the reported at least 1,500 cases are accounted in the district and neighborhoods along the coastline, such as Karşıyaka and Çiğli.

Residents of the city are increasingly abiding by the rules the authorities have declared to stem the spread of the virus. A week ago, the people of İzmir had gone out in large numbers despite calls for staying home, but the latest data showed that the warnings are paying off. The number of people who use the public transport in the city has declined nearly 80 percent.

Hurriyet Daily News

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