A mass wake ceremony held in the southeastern province of Van has led to a spike in the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases due to the violation of social distancing rules, the city's governor said on May 8.
Van Governor Mehmet Emin Bilmez said that the number of coronavirus cases jumped to 51 in the Ortanca neighborhood because of the wake organization of the Eraygen family, who accepted visitors who wanted to offer their condolences for the loss of a family member.
"Please don't organize wake ceremonies. Report those doing so to police or the gendarmerie for your and social health," Bilmez said in a tweet.
Değerli Hemşehrilerim— Mehmet Emin Bilmez (@valibilmez) May 8, 2020
Ortanca Mahallesi'ndeki taziye kaynaklı vaka sayımız 51 oldu.
Lütfen taziye ziyaretleri düzenlemeyelim!
Hem bireysel hemde toplumsal sağlığımız için taziye kuranları;
? hatlarına ihbar edelim.#BirlikteBasaracagiz
Some 23 members of the Eraygen family were diagnosed with COVID-19 following the wake along with some 20 others from nearby neighborhoods, although not all were locals.
"The city center is high risk right now because a lot of people joined the wake in Ortanca neighborhood, including public servants and downtown Van residents," the governor's office said in an official statement.
Those infected, along with anyone who participated in the wake, are suspected to have come into contact with many others, the governor's office noted.Turkey suspends mass prayers in mosques to halt virus spread
"Our citizens should remain home, wear a mask if they have to go outside, and adhere to social distancing. The risk is higher now than ever."
The Ortanca neighborhood was placed under quarantine following the wake.
Some six public servants who attended the wake were fined and the elected neighborhood leader was removed from his post for allowing the tent for the wake to be set up.Mass Ramadan gatherings officially forbidden in Turkey amid COVID-19 outbreak