Turkey coronavirus death toll tops 2,000

By: AFP      Published: 10:36 PM, 19 Apr, 2020
Turkey coronavirus death toll tops 2,000
Ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of Greek Orthodox world leads the Easter ceremony during curfew behind the closed doors measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 at the St George Church in Istanbul on 19 April 2020.–AFP

Turkey on Sunday announced 127 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, raising the official death toll to 2,017.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted an image showing there were 3,977 new cases of COVID-19 infection in the past 24 hours, bringing total reported infections to 86,306.

Turkey is the worst affected country in the Middle East, ahead of Iran, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Turkish authorities have undertaken nearly 635,000 tests while almost 12,000 people have recovered from the virus, the minister said.

The government has taken a series of measures to limit the spread of the virus including closing schools and universities, and banning mass gatherings.

This weekend 31 cities including the capital Ankara and Istanbul were under lockdown for a second time, after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said all-day weekend curfews would continue as long as they were necessary.

The interior ministry on Saturday extended a ban on intercity travel by land, air and sea in the same 31 cities for 15 more days.