Turkey’s majority-Kurdish Diyarbakır records at least 900 COVID-19 cases in June

At least 550 people have been quarantined in their homes after testing positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus and 350 newly-diagnosed COVID-19 patients have been hospitalised in Turkey’s southeastern Kurdish-majority province of Diyarbakır, amounting to at least 900 new cases recorded since the beginning of June, news site Rudaw reported on Thursday.

The total number of cases in the province has shot up to 1,500, Turkish Medical Association Central Council Member Halis Yerlikaya told Mezopotamya news agency on the same day. The city had registered 300 new cases in the first week of June alone.

Turkey started to ease coronavirus restrictions on June 1, but due to the recent spike, Diyarbakır’s public health authority made the use of masks mandatory in public on Tuesday.

Some 24,000 people were placed in quarantine after the normalisation period started, according to Mezopotamya.

Yerlikaya warned of a “calamity” if the spike is not handled well. “Rapid normalisation measures did away with the use of masks and gloves, and removed physical distancing,” he added.

Turkey’s normalisation process has been too fast, and measures have been based on Istanbul’s figures, Yerlikaya continued, instead calling for provincial and regional decision-making.

Close to 50 people have died after contracting the coronavirus in the province that has a population of 1.7 million, Yerlikaya said.

Turkey’s professional organisations have been keeping their own statistics during the pandemic, as the Health Ministry has not shared province-by-province information on the number of cases or deaths.

On June 11, Turkey recorded 17 deaths and 987 new diagnoses, bringing the total number of deaths to 4,763 and active cases to 21,400.