The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) has announced that 433 of its employees have been infected with the novel coronavirus, while Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has once again urged the government to impose a full lock-down instead of a partial curfew over the weekends.
İBB Spokesperson Murat Ongun announced on April 13 that one of the employees that was working in the municipality’s transportation services had lost his life due to coronavirus.
“Unfortunately, as of today, the number of our personnel whose Covid-19 tests results came back positive has reached 433. We unfortunately lost our colleague Ahmet Hakan Fenerci on duty at transportation [services],” Ongun wrote on Twitter.
Ongun’s announcement came as Mayor İmamaoğlu, of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said that the government’s move to declare a curfew only covering weekends was a “mistake” and once again reiterated his call for the imposition of a stronger curfew.
“I am not able to understand why they are so resistant to impose a two to three week curfew in Istanbul in which at least 65 percent of the total epidemic cases have been identified. I have been wasting my breath in insisting on this,” İmamoğlu said during a TV program aired on Halk TV on April 13 evening.
İmamoğlu’s comments came shortly after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that Turkey will continue to implement weekend curfews to curb the spread of the virus. İmamoğlu however said that he does not believe a two-day curfew would be sufficient to tackle the virus outbreak.
“There are both scholarly and medical approaches that [two-day long curfew] is not beneficial. This is like taking a short breath. As long as the new infections continue – and the figures show that – this will unfortunately not be a beneficial move,” İmamoğlu said.
The mayor said that the Istanbul Pandemic Council – formed to discuss additional measures against the virus – had also proposed a full lockdown “of at least two to three weeks.”
Indicating that he participated in the council’s meetings twice, İmamoğlu said: “Healthcare professionals, physicians and scientists there have expressed that they are clear regarding their stance regarding this issue and that there should be a curfew that is at least two to three weeks long.”
İmamoğlu once again said that he was not notified of the weekend curfew in advance. “I do not think that any one of the mayors were notified of the decision…Otherwise, why would they hide information from us? What happened at that time saddened us very much. I hope that those couple of hours will not cost people dearly,” İmamoğlu said, referring to scenes of panic shopping and people flouting social distancing rules.