Istanbul has entered the third wave of COVID-19 infections, and the surge hasn't even peaked yet, said Prof. Serap Şimşek Yavuz, a member of the Health Ministry's Science Committee.
The percentage of positive results among the tests conducted in Istanbul has already surpassed 10 percent, and the number of cases per 100,000 people exceeded 178 in the metropolis last week, putting it in the very high-risk zone, Yavuz noted.
"The situation points to the fact that Istanbul has started to observe the third wave, and it hasn't even peaked yet," Yavuz said.
The effects of Ankara's easing of COVID-19 measures on March 1 have become visible during the week of March 15, Yavuz said, adding that the Health Ministry has observed a significant uptick in the rate of positive testing.
Patients who have been vaccinated have been experiencing a significantly lower rate of death, but there's still a majority in Istanbul who hasn't received the treatment, Yavuz said.
Turkey recorded 20,049 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, the highest daily level this year, Health Ministry data showed on March 18.
Turkey has logged a total of 2,950,603 COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, the data showed, while 81 people died due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, raising the cumulative death toll to 29,777.