Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on July 13 that Istanbul, the capital Ankara and the southeastern provinces of Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, and Diyarbakır are the five provinces with the highest number of coronavirus patients.
Koca also said that these five provinces have registered an increase in the number of COVID-19 patients admitted to the intensive care unit.
“Compared to the data of last week, we are determined to go below 1,000 daily new cases. Every day is an exam against COVID-19,” Koca wrote on his Twitter account.
According to the Health Ministry data, Turkey registered 1,008 new COVID-19 patients on July 13, bringing the totally tally to 214,001.
The country’s death toll from the virus rose to 5,382, with 19 daily fatalities reported.
On June 12, the number of new coronavirus cases in Turkey rose above 1,000 some two weeks after the government relaxed many of the restrictions it put in place to reduce infections.
Since then, it has not dropped below 1,000, which Minister Koca has been saying should be the target.
At the start of June, Turkey opened restaurants and cafes, and lifted weekend stay-home orders and inter-city travel bans. A subsequent doubling of daily coronavirus cases prompted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to warn the country had lost some ground in its battle with coronavirus.
As Turks poured out into streets, parks, malls and vacation spots last month, the government made face masks compulsory in several provinces. More measures could come even as officials have said there is no plan to slow momentum in the economy, which emerged in June from a near standstill since mid-March.