Duvar English / Reuters
Turkey is experiencing the second peak of its novel coronavirus outbreak, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Sept. 2, while the government announced new restrictions on weddings and other social gatherings as daily cases and deaths rise rapidly.Ankara, Istanbul mayors refute Health Ministry data on COVID-19, say number of deaths, cases are higher
Fatalitieshave jumped to their highest since mid-May, when lockdowns were inplace, and new cases have risen to mid-June levels, at almost1,600. Turkey mostly reopened the economy and liftedweekend and age-specific lockdowns in early June.
Thenumber of new cases rose by 1,596 to 273,301 in the last 24 hours,according to Health Ministry data, while the death toll from thevirus rose by 45 to 6,462 on Sept. 2.
Koca told a press conference after meeting his coronavirus science team that the capital Ankara had seen the most rapid rise in cases lately, producing double the numbers of Istanbul, previously the outbreak's epicenter in Turkey.
"We are going through the second peak of the first wave of coronavirus. The carelessness at weddings and religious holidays has bought us to this point," Koca said, but added lockdowns to curb the outbreak were not on the government's agenda for now.COVID-19 pandemic 'out of control in Turkey'
FollowingKoca's remarks, the government announced new restrictions onweddings, limiting their duration to an hour, banning all food anddrinks. It also banned the attendance of senior citizens and childrento such gatherings.
"Thevirus is spreading to more people each day. Our test numbers arerising every day, our new patient numbers are not falling," Kocasaid, adding 29,865 health workers were infected, with 52 deaths.
Doctorsand medical groups have said some hospitals were at capacity. At theweekend, the mayors of Istanbul and Ankara accused the government ofplaying down the scale of the pandemic, citing local information.
TheTurkish Medics Association said last month that based on antibodytests, there are likely some 10 times more active coronaviruspatients than suggested by the official tally.
Kocastood by the accuracy of official tallies and urged people to be morecautious.