During these unusual times, life in the world’s largest cities has come to a screeching halt and Istanbul’s Istiklal Street is no exception. The only people walking on the street, lined with closed shops, are tourists and locals who have urgent business.
Confirmed coronavirus cases in Turkey rose by more than 3,000 to 23,934 on April 4 with deaths related to COVID-19 rising by 76 to 501 people, Heath Minister Fahrettin Koca said. In the last 24 hours, 19,664 tests were conducted bringing the total performed in Turkey so far to 161,380, Koca said.
The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has started to place thermal cameras at subway stations across the city in an attempt to detect passengers with high fever. Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu said that passengers with fever will not be allowed to ride the subway.
Turkish Airlines announced early on April 4 that it has suspended all domestic flights until April 20 amid the coronavirus outbreak. Earlier this week, the company extended its suspension of all international flights to May 1, while cutting flights to all but 14 big Turkish cities.
Two judges of Turkey's Court of Cassation have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, daily Cumhuriyet reported on April 4. The situation has led to a panic among the other judges of the court due to concerns that they might have also contracted the virus during a recently held meeting in the Court of Cassation building in the capital Ankara.
A report from the Platform of the Branches of Istanbul Worker Unions that was published on April 3 revealed that the majority of Istanbul’s four million workers do not belong to a labor or trade union. The report noted that this leaves the workers in a particularly vulnerable position amid the COVID-19 outbreak, as the epidemic is expected to trigger mass unemployment.
Turkey's Health Ministry has updated its criteria for who can and should be tested for COVID-19. Accordingly, it will be enough for a patient to develop just one of the following symptoms to avail of diagnostic testing: cough, difficulty in breathing, or fever.
Turkey has taken a series of new measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, as the death toll hit 425. The country has imposed a curfew for citizens younger than 20 years of age and has made mask-wearing in public areas compulsory.
Turkey’s deaths from the coronavirus increased by 69 to 425 on April 3, as the number of confirmed cases rose by 2,786 to 20,921, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said. The number of newly infected people from a single coronavirus case is 16 on average in Istanbul, Koca said, adding that the "mobility of the young population is one of our weakest points."
Anyone who violates the required 14-day self isolation following international travels, as well as anyone attempting to escape from to their quarantine location will now be subject to a search warrant issued in their name. The first example of such a warrant was issued for an individual from Istanbul’s Ümraniye district, whose search warrant declares they are “wanted for disseminating a contagious disease.”
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said that more than two million workers in Turkey have lost their jobs due to measures taken to contain the coronavirus outbreak. "They had to start a campaign to keep people home. This current campaign has only led to one thing: unemployment," he said. "They will get unemployment wages from the unemployment fund for a short time, but there are no guarantees after that," he added.
Prof. Alpay Azap, a member of the Health Ministry’s COVID-19 Science Committee, predicts the epidemic will peak around the end of April. “The disease peaks within around 60 days. Considering it appeared on March 11 in Turkey, we still have three to four weeks to go,” Azap told daily Habertürk on April 3.
The “Hello Fatwa” hotline of the Istanbul Mufti’s Office has been receiving a flurry of questions about the compatibility of COVID-19 precautions with Islam, the Mufti of Istanbul Prof. Mehmet Emin Maşalı said on April 3. People calling the hotline have asked whether alcohol-based disinfectants corrupt one’s ablution and whether it is a sin to use alcohol-based medications.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has said that Istanbul is running out of time to impose a lockdown and stop a surge in coronavirus cases as around two million people are still going out into the streets every day. "We are in the most critical time," he said. "Looking at the situation across the world, we are in a period that is very intense and could lead to figures that will upset us very much."
In fight with the coronavirus among the precautions taken by the Ankara Municipality last month included the banning of recyclable collectors who work long hours picking through the trash searching for reusable materials. Following the ban of the occupation, the Ankara Municipality has started disinfecting the areas in which the collectors live, while providing them with three hot meals a day and rent and utility support.