Turkish authorities have made the wearing of masks mandatory in three major cities to curb the spread of COVID-19 following an uptick in confirmed cases since the reopening of many businesses.
The governors of Istanbul, Ankara and Bursa announced the mask rule late Wednesday in line with a recommendation by the country’s scientific advisory council. Masks are now obligatory in 47 out of 81 provinces. The statements said masks would be worn in all public spaces.
Turkey is seeing an upward trend in the daily number of infections after the government authorized 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.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced Wednesday that confirmed daily infections were around 653 in the past month in Istanbul, Turkey’s most populous city with more than 15 million residents, and noted that the daily average fell to 616 in the past three days.
In the capital, Ankara, the range in one month has been between 127 and 177 new infections per day with an uptick in the past week.
Turkey has reported 182,727 confirmed cases and 4,861 deaths from COVID-19 since March.