Istanbul municipality reports higher fatalities than gov’t as lockdown extended

Turkey’s coronavirus infections and deaths on Friday maintained an upward trajectory, with the municipality of the country’s largest city of Istanbul reporting a higher daily COVID-19 death count than the fatalities recorded for the entire country by the Health Ministry.

The country’s death toll on Friday increased by 177, according to the ministry, while the opposition-led Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) reported 179 fatalities, Bianet news site reported.

The city of some 16 million is home to 60 percent of the country’s cases, according to the health ministry.

Officials on Friday recorded a new high of 29,845 coronavirus infections across the country over the past 24 hours, including asymptomatic ones.

The government began announcing the total numbers earlier this week, after reporting only symptomatic cases since the summer, a move which critics said concealed the true scale of the outbreak.

Official figures now bring the death toll to 13,191 nationwide, as the country observes its second weekend lockdown and tightened measures to stem the spread of the deadly virus.

Turkey has shut down schools, opting to continue online education until the year-end, while all restaurants and cafes in the country only offer delivery and take-out services.

The Interior Ministry on Friday announced that the partial lockdown would be extended until the end of November.

Accordingly, citizens will be required to remain in their homes over the weekend of Nov. 28 to 30, starting on Saturday evening with a free window on Sunday during daytime. The lockdown will end on Monday at 5 a.m, the ministry said. Essential businesses and workers are exempted from the curfew, including security and healthcare staff.