Case numbers have reached a peak in Turkey’s COVID-19 epidemic, said Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on Wednesday.
Health Ministry data showed the country’s total number of recorded cases rose by 1,041 to 208,938 in the last 24 hours. The government’s official death toll rose by 22 to 5,282 within the same time frame.
The underlying cause to the new rise in infections was the general public’s reluctance to follow preventive measures, such as donning medical masks, maintaining social distancing and practicing personal hygiene, Koca said.
“I ask you to remember that (recent) deaths are due to preventable causes. The virus that causes the disease meets through respiration,” the minister said in a statement carried by news site Arti Gerçek. “The mask is the most important measure in the world.”
The minister mentioned that a family study revealed a large number of cases came from weddings.
Turkey has seen a rise in daily recorded cases after the Turkish government eased restrictions designed to reduce the infection rate for different facets of Turkish society, despite warnings from medical experts and businesspeople.
Between 1,000 and 1,500 cases have been recorded each day since June 11, according to official data, raising concern that some restrictions on the population may need to be reintroduced.
“In the last seven days, 18,000 people had to be fined for not following the rules in our 81 provinces,” Koca said, urging citizens to follow preventive measures.
The provinces with the highest number of cases on average for the past three days are Istanbul, Ankara, Gaziantep, Konya, Mardin, Diyarbakır, Şanlıurfa, he add.
“In some major cities, the highest number of weekly cases was seen in the fifth week of the epidemic,” the minister said on Twitter on Wednesday. Turkey announced its first case on March 11.
“The highest case numbers in 13 provinces have been reached within the last month or just recently,” he said.
Other notable ministry data showed 2,219 patients have recovered since Tuesday evening, bringing the total number of recoveries in the country to 187,551.