Istanbul authorities boost efforts to combat COVID-19

Source: Xinhua| 2020-08-11 20:57:42|Editor: huaxia

People wearing face masks are seen on a street in Istanbul, Turkey, on Aug. 5, 2020. (Xinhua/Huseyin Aldemir)

Authorities in Istanbul decided to enhance the efforts in tracing COVID-19 contacts in the city, in a bit to fight the ongoing pandemic.

ISTANBUL, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- Local authorities in Turkey's Istanbul have strengthened the filiation efforts to rapidly detect COVID-19 infections as the daily number of new cases across the country has been increasing.

A series of meetings were held on Monday at the governor's office to elaborate on the COVID-19 contact tracing works carried out in the city and set new methods to curb the spread of the pandemic.

Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya said in a written statement that certain local committees were established to closely monitor the changes in the numbers of the infected cases, patients in hospitals, including those in critical conditions, and people in isolation.

Currently, a total of 503 teams are working in the field across Istanbul to identify those who recently contacted the infected patients, according to Yerlikaya.

Istanbul, with a population of over 16 million, had previously accounted for as much as 70 percent of the total COVID-19 cases in the country, the governor noted.

"However, this ratio has recently dropped to 25-30 percent, thanks to our filiation works," Yerlikaya said. "To further enhance our success we have achieved in reducing the rate of the spread of the coronavirus, we will review the new measures in committee meetings every two weeks."

Meanwhile, police teams on Tuesday inspected public vehicles, shopping malls, shops, open-air bazaars, cafes, and restaurants across the city to see whether people follow the COVID-19 rules.

The units checked the social distance between the tables in cafes and restaurants and warned citizens who did not wear their masks properly, while traffic police fined multiple drivers of public transport for carrying passengers over their capacities.

"The contamination risk in social environments, including wedding ceremonies, cafes and restaurants, and even working places, is significantly high," Levent Yamanel, a member of the Health Ministry's Scientific Committee, was quoted as saying by local media.

"Even if we are not sick, we need to minimize our contact with others," Yamanel noted, urging citizens to follow the social distancing rule and wear masks even at home.

Inspections have also been conducted in Turkey's biggest Istanbul Airport with the participation of 22 personnel in three different spots, including the arrival and departure terminals, according to press reports.

During the examination, officials frequently warned passengers to comply with the social distancing rule and wear masks, and checked the hygiene standards at the food court.

The daily number of new cases in the country was reported as 1,193 on Monday, taking the total number of infection to 241,997. The death toll reached 5,858 with the daily addition of 14.