Turkey cracks down on violations of COVID-19 rules amid rising daily cases

Turkish authorities on Tuesday started to take drastic actions against violations of the COVID-19 pandemic rules amid the rising number of daily cases.

The Turkish Interior Ministry on Sunday declared that inspections would be carried out non-stop this week across the country to monitor compliance with the COVID-19 rules.

In line with the ministry’s notice, more than 400 teams of some 1,000 personnel have taken to the streets in the country’s most populous city Istanbul, which has recently become the epicenter of the pandemic once again.

The teams have so far inspected over 4,500 public recreational and entertainment facilities across the province, Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya announced.

A total of 741 businesses were fined and two others banned from operations for violating the rules such as hygiene, social distancing and wearing masks, he announced on his Twitter account.

Within the scope of the new coronavirus measures, police teams also checked public vehicles throughout the province where public transport is heavily relied on. The capacity in buses, minibuses, trams, and the metro had been reduced by nearly half to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter that complaints have been increasing about minibus drivers in Istanbul accepting more passengers than the regulated maximum capacity.

During the rest of the week, the controls are expected to focus on beauty salons, coiffeur’s, and barbershops as well as the conditions of those in COVID-19 isolation.

On Monday, for the first time in months, the daily number of patients in Turkey exceeded the 2,000 threshold, according to the Health Ministry.

“We can see that masks are not used properly, physical distancing between people is not obeyed, and hygiene rules violated,” Afsin Emre Kayipmaz, a member of Turkey’s Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board, told reporters.

Turkey reported on Monday 2,026 new coronavirus cases and 75 deaths, taking the total number in the country to 349,519 and the death toll to 9,371.