Turkey’s COVID-19 cases double to two-month high in holiday travel boom

Turkish cases of the coronavirus rose to almost 10,000 daily on Thursday, doubling from two weeks ago, according to Health Ministry figures.

The upsurge in cases is taking place in the middle of a one-week public holiday, during which Turks are visiting their families and flocking to resort towns on the country’s southern and western coastlines.

Daily infections climbed to 9,586, the highest level since mid-May, the data showed. The highest number of cases in Turkey’s major provinces was registered in Ankara, where infections rose to 71.5 per 100,000 people from 57.95 last week, and in the tourist region of Muğla. Cases there jumped to 84.5 per 100,000 from 33.44 a week ago.

Turkey lifted most restrictions on the population, including daily curfews and travel restrictions, in early June after new infections fell to less than 5,000 per day. In April, daily cases had surged to a record of more than 63,000, prompting the government to re-impose measures to stop the spread of the virus.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca warned on Thursday that infection rates would probably continue to rise.

“Tomorrow we will likely encounter a higher number,” he said on Twitter. “The next days will determine the rules we will follow… Let's act according to the result we want to get. Let's be firm.”

On Thursday, local media including the Hürriyet Daily News reported that local holidaymakers were overrunning Turkey’s coastal resorts, resulting in electricity and water shortages.

The population of Çeşme, a seaside town in the western province of İzmir, rose to more than 1 million from 46,000, with half a million vehicles arriving there in the space of three days, according to the town’s mayor Ekrem Oran. Bodrum, a leading holiday destination located in the Muğla province, saw its population more than double this week to 1 million, according to the reports.

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