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Istanbul is now in its ‘third wave’ of the COVID-19 outbreak

Istanbul is now in its ‘third wave’ of the COVID-19 outbreak

Istanbul turned “red” this week in a color-coded map showing the level of risk from the coronavirus in 81 provinces of Turkey. With roughly 178 cases per population of 100,000 people, the country’s most crowded city of more than 15 million people is now in the “third wave” of the outbreak, Serap Şimşek Yavuz said. Yavuz, a member of the Health Ministry’s Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board, which advises the government on measures, said the city is still far from the “peak,” a level in cases that is usually followed by a drop in cases.

Turkey dialed down restrictions for most provinces, based on the number of weekly cases, earlier this month. This new “normalization” process, however, appears to threaten the improvement in controlling the outbreak. Experts say increased social mobility with normalization that has seen partial removal of weekend lockdowns and reopening of some businesses like restaurants and cafes might have contributed to a rise in the cases. The number of daily cases exceeded 20,000 on Thursday, while daily fatalities surpassed 80 for the first time this year.

Yavuz, who also works at the infectious diseases department of the Istanbul Faculty of Medicine at Istanbul University (IÜ), told Demirören News Agency (DHA) on Friday that they have seen an upward trend in cases in Istanbul. “Positive test rates exceeded 10%. The current average number of weekly cases is already a high number. It is safe to say we are in the midst of a third wave. We see the impact of (reopening). At our hospital (at the faculty) alone, we have seen an influx of new patients this week and a positive test rate of around 12%. I believe we have difficult days ahead,” she warned.