Istanbul, Turkey’s capital of finance and culture and a global travel hub, now represents 40 percent of the country’s total number of coronavirus cases, the health minister Fahrettin Koca announced Friday.
Turkey has recorded at least 355,000 total cases and nearly 10,000 deaths, according to a New York Times database.
“The pandemic is re-escalating in the entire country,’’ Mr. Koca said, after he urged residents of Istanbul to avoid crowds.
On Thursday, Turkey recorded 2,102 daily cases and 71 deaths, according to health ministry figures.
After ending its partial lockdown in June, Turkey made it compulsory nationwide last month to wear masks everywhere but at home. The authorities also instituted a system of staggered work hours in order to manage crowds of commuters in Istanbul, a city of 15.5 million. Turkey’s total population is about 82 million.
Critics and health professionals have long challenged the government’s coronavirus figures, saying that the actual numbers are much higher.
Lately, the government admitted that it was excluding asymptomatic cases from its announced coronavirus tally.