ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey has made the wearing of face masks mandatory in five more provinces, following an uptick in COVID-19 cases.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted early yesterday that the wearing of masks is now compulsory in 42 of Turkey’s 81 provinces.
In the remaining provinces, residents are required to wear masks on public transportation and in shops and malls, and are being advised to wear masks and keep to social distancing practices elsewhere.
Koca tweeted, “We cannot struggle against the virus without masks.”
Turkey is seeing an upward trend in the daily number of infections after the government authorised cafes, restaurants, gyms, parks, beaches and museums to reopen, lifted inter-city travel restrictions and eased stay-at-home orders for the elderly and young at the start of June.
The daily number of infections climbed to above 1,500 in the past five days after hovering around 800-900 previously. The country has registered a total of 179,831 cases and 4,825 deaths.
Pinar Oktay, a member of Turkey’s scientific advisory body spoke of the possibility of the resumption of some lockdown measures.
“The increase is being monitored very carefully,” Oktay told HaberTurk news channel. “If the increase continues in this way, we may have to reimpose some measures.
In the eastern province of Ardahan, the number of infections jumped from just three to 18 following the lifting of travel restrictions and the arrival from travellers from other regions, Governor Mustafa Masatli said on Monday.