Istanbul during coronavirus lockdown

Coronavirus infections fall 35% in Istanbul in a week

Istanbul is still the province with the most coronavirus infections, but the number of hospitalised and ICU patients has fallen above 20%.

Coronavirus infections have fallen drastically in Istanbul in a week, as well as the number of people hospitalised and the number of patients treated in ICUs, thanks to the lockdown measures decreed by the government at the end of April and which will be in effect until the 17th. of May.

In statements collected by Turkish media, Professor Kemal Memişoğlu, Istanbul’s provincial health director, confirmed that the number of infections in Turkey’s largest city – with 16 million inhabitants – has fallen by 35% in the course of a week, while the number of patients in intensive care has decreased by 21% between April 28 and May 4 compared to the previous week. Likewise, the number of people treated in city hospitals for COVID-19 fell by 25%.

Istanbul registered an incidence of 532 cases per 100,000 inhabitants -the highest rate in the country- between April 24 and 30, just before the start of the total lockdown decreed by Turkish authorities, which prohibits going out except for workers from key sectors and to go shopping for essential products at the nearest grocery store or supermarket.

It is not yet clear what the government will do once the lockdown ends – according to the scheduled date – at dawn on May 17; experts believe that instead of a sudden reopening that would trigger infections again, a gradual de-escalation should be made with a transition period towards normal life.

The Turkish government’s goal is to reduce daily coronavirus infections throughout Turkey to 5,000 cases a day, after they reached record numbers above 60,000 positives a day in mid-April. In the last 24 hours, the country registered 15,191 new positives and another 283 deaths from COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths from the virus to 43,029 since the start of the pandemic, according to figures from the Health Ministry.