To avoid the risk of a new coronavirus outbreak, 67% of the population must develop immunity, but currently only 15% of Istanbul’s inhabitants are immune to the virus.
Istanbul, Turkey’s most populous city with about 16 million inhabitants, could take a long time to completely defeat the coronavirus, experts warn, noting that at least 67% of the population should develop immunity to end the risk of a new outbreak of the virus.
“We estimate that currently around 15% of the inhabitants (of Istanbul) have developed immunity. And if this number is true, we need more time before the disease disappears from the city. The risk of infection could easily continue until 2022,” says Professor Osman Erk of the Istanbul University School of Medicine.
For his part, Tufan Tükek, dean of the School of Medicine, points out that the new antibody tests will provide a clearer picture of the number of people who have acquired immunity to COVID-19 throughout Turkey, including Istanbul.
“The PCR tests and the assumption that about 60% of all registered cases are in Istanbul, suggest that some 1.8 million people in the city are either asymptomatic carriers, or have developed immunity. When the number of cases ( daily) falls below 100, this will be a respite, “says Tükek.
Istanbul’s high population density, one of the biggest risks
The problem, experts warn, is that Istanbul is a city with a huge population density -more than 2,800 inhabitants per square kilometre on average- which makes it very difficult to comply with measures to combat the coronavirus, such as social distancing, especially in public transportation. In the most populous districts like Güngören, Gaziosmanpaşa or Bağcılar, the density is almost 40,000 people per square kilometre.
“Certain measures could be taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Istanbul. Public transport and shopping malls are very crowded and high-risk places. Company shifts could be adjusted to minimise risks, and the practice of teleworking it could continue,” experts say.
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As a history lover, Pablo was captivated by Turkey from the first day he visited it in 2006: he got married there, has a house there… and has since become an expert on Turkey’s current affairs. With a long experience in media, he has been at the helm of hispanatolia.com since 2011, and now also of anatoliatoday.com