Virus cases on the decline in Istanbul, İzmir: Minister

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases has been declining in Istanbul and İzmir, two of Turkey's most populous cities, but there has been an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases in certain provinces in the country's Central Anatolia as well as eastern and southeastern regions, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said.

The minister noted that the capital Ankara had seen a rise in the virus cases in the past couple of days, but the daily cases dropped again as of June 10.

The spike in confirmed cases in the provinces in the Central Anatolia, eastern and southeastern regions occurred particularly after June 1 and the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of May, Koca explained.

Turkey moved to the normalization phase on June 1, followed by more steps to ease restrictions. Restaurants, cafes, parks, barbershops, and shopping centers resumed activities under the normalization plan.

"This rise is partially related to higher mobility but also stemmed from the fact that people fail to follow rules regarding face masks, hygiene and social distancing. In Diyarbakır [in southeastern Turkey], the daily number of cases increased to as much as 100. What lies behind is mainly social events, such as engagement ceremonies," the minister said.

Thanks to the confinement measures, the infection rate has been declined by 50 percent for people aged over 65, Koca also informed.

"Following stay-at-home orders for those over the age of 65 years, the rate of COVID-19 infection in this age group declined by 50 percent," he said.

Turkey will start antibody tests in the country's 81 provinces on June 15, said Professor Seçil Özkan at the Health Ministry's Science Board.

"Health crews will visit nearly 153,000 households to collect...

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