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Fears grow in Turkey as daily virus cases top 1,000

By AFP - Aug 08,2020 - Last updated at Aug 08,2020

People wear protective face masks to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Istanbul on July 1 (AFP photo)

ISTANBUL — Turkey has expressed concern over the rising number of coronavirus cases as the daily infection toll exceeded 1,000 for the second day in a row on Wednesday.

Ankara has eased most of the restrictions that were in place since the first case was recorded in March, rising to a peak of more than 5,000 daily infections in April.

But after nearly a month of daily cases numbering around 900, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said 1,178 infections were recorded in the past 24 hours.

Koca urged citizens on Wednesday to take precautions to avoid further increases.

"We're CONCERNED about the increase in the number of cases, previously limited to some provinces, spreading in the coming days throughout the country," he also said on Monday, which saw 995 confirmed cases.

The next day Turkey recorded 1,083 infections.

The total number of deaths now stands at 5,784 and infections at 236,112.

Koca said at the weekend that the "first wave reached the beaches" as Turks and foreign tourists take to the country's famous turquoise coast, especially during the Muslim Eid  Al Adha holiday last week.

The outbreak appeared to have worsened in the capital Ankara, the second most populous city in Turkey after Istanbul.

The Ankara Medical Chamber (ATO) on Tuesday said "pandemic hospitals and their intensive care units in Ankara were 100 percent full" and unable to take in new COVID-19 patients.

But the Ankara provincial health directorate contradicted the statement, saying intensive care units were 63 per cent full in the city and insisting the pandemic remained under control.

One of the most affected regions is the southeast, especially the provinces of Diyarbakir, Mardin and Sanliurfa, according to the Turkish Medical Association (TTB).

A senior TTB official, Halis Yerlikaya, told the Tele1 channel on Monday that intensive care units in public hospitals "had no space left" in the three provinces.

Yerlikaya suggested the official figures were not correct, saying the number of daily cases in Diyarbakir was "around 300", and approximately "300-350" in Sanliurfa.

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