Report | Difficulties fighting the Coronavirus in Istanbul


Large crowds and congestion on the public transport network, and the need for millions of citizens to go to work, are the main reasons for the widespread of the Coronavirus in Istanbul.

Istanbul faces a greater risk as it is a densely populated city known as the commercial and tourist capital of Turkey.

Professor Mustafa Saeed Jinin, Vice President of Istanbul Paşa University of Surgery, said: “Unfortunately, in recent days, with the cold weather in Istanbul, we have seen the number of patients doubling.”

Something like this is very dangerous for the densely populated city of Istanbul and we may find ourselves in a very difficult situation.

In this situation, we are facing a difficult winter. However, our most important weapons are masks, social distancing and the use of sterilizers. “Please put carelessness and laziness aside.”

According to information and evidence published in the Turkish media, the large crowds and congestion on the public transport network and the need to go to work for millions of citizens are the main reasons for the outbreak of the Coronavirus in Istanbul.

New statistics on the spread of Coronavirus in Turkey

According to the latest statistics uploaded on the website of the Turkish Ministry of National Health, the current Coronavirus outbreak rate in Turkey is as follows:

  • The number of tests in the past 24 hours is 117,000
  • The number of patients during the past 24 hours has reached 1894
  • 74 deaths in the last 24 hours
  • The total number of deaths since the beginning until today is 9,445 people
  • The total number of patients since the beginning until today is 351 thousand people
  • The total number of recoveries is 307 thousand people
  • The number of patients with difficult conditions is 1545
  • The total number of tests from start to date is 13 million

Strict control in Istanbul

Istanbul, in addition to being the commercial center of Turkey, is the heart of art centers and the residence of movie and music stars.

Hundreds of artistic personalities live in this city that attracts attention and the necessity to show off is a sustainable part of their lives, and in these days of Coronavirus they do not give up parties and gatherings.

With no concerts banned in Istanbul, Turkish police have crashed several concerts and fined guests, most of whom are well-known artists in the fields of Turkish cinema, television and music.

During the past month, the process of monitoring public places, markets and shopping centers in Istanbul has become very strict.

Istanbul’s Governor, Ali Yerlikaya, has published statistics on the last 24 hours of surveillance, which is interesting in its own way.

He wrote: In the past twenty-four hours, 415 crew consisting of 998 individuals were dispatched, and 4,586 commercial, entertainment and public centers were visited.

“299 unit managers or shopkeepers were warned, in 713 cases we were forced to collect fines, 28 malls were handed over to the union office for heavy fines, and we closed two malls.”

The demand for seasonal influenza vaccines has doubled

This year, as in other countries, the demand for seasonal influenza vaccines has doubled.

In order to prevent the formation of the black market, the Turkish Ministry of National Health ordered the sale of the vaccine at an approved price of 73 Turkish lira, and that every citizen has the right to purchase only once based on the registration of the national code in the e-government system.

Coronavirus Vaccine test in Istanbul

So far, three American, Chinese and German companies have tested their Coronavirus vaccine in Turkey.

Of course, the director of the German pharmaceutical company is a Turkish professor of pharmacology, and it is not without reason that the company chose Istanbul as a test center.

So far, 550 citizen volunteers have participated in the vaccine testing program.

According to the reports published by Professor Murat Akova, the testing of these vaccines is successful and the third phase of testing will be implemented soon.

Positions of the opposition journalists

Several anti-AKP  journalists criticized the government repeatedly on Twitter and other social networks.

“Everywhere in the world, the government is fighting Corona,” wrote Murat Yetkin, a well-known and long-standing Turkish analyst. “But the government prefers to tamper with the statistics and hide the trash under the carpet with a broom”.

“In Italy, Belgium, France and some other European countries, weekends have been designated as curfew days, Because the government provides financial aid to restaurants and entertainment centers and is not harmed. But this is not the case in Turkey.” wrote Şerin Bayazan, the anti-Erdogan TV presenter. 

Dangerous transportation in Istanbul

The high price of petrol has made transportation in taxis and private cars expensive for most Turkish citizens.

This problem is most evident in Istanbul, which has a population of 14 million.

As a result, most people in this bustling Asian-European city use minibuses, buses, sea buses and subways, which leads to increased congestion and the risk of spreading infections and infections.

Statistics challenge

Turkish National Health Minister Fahruttin Koca showed a successful record during the fight against Coronavirus.

Even in several opinion polls, his name was mentioned as a presidential candidate, and it was found that his popularity surpassed that of Erdogan.

But with all this fame and success, the minister lost some of his credibility with the media with a statistical statement.

“In our opinion, it is not necessary to name every patient a patient,” he said some time ago. “Coronavirus disease is not like other diseases, and we take that into account in our statistics.”

These statements cost the Minister of Health dearly, and the opposition media in particular mentioned that the statistics announced by the Ministry of Health are no longer reliable.

However, the Turkish Minister of Health has not given up, and is regularly proceeding with the fight against Coronavirus in Turkey.

In one of his new tweets, he posted a picture of a minibus full of standing passengers and asked the police to stop the cars if they saw this.

Professor Amun Cihan, a member of the faculty at Hacettepe Medical University in Istanbul, said: “To find out the real number of patients, we have to double the number of patients by 5, which equates to 10,000 new cases around the clock.”

Coronavirus in Turkey and the party competition

One of the main reasons for the politicization of the issue of Coronavirus statistics in Turkey is that the four most important municipalities of Istanbul, Ankara, Antalya and Adana, with a population of millions, are run by the most important opposition party, the Republican People’s Party.

Indeed, the mayors of these cities have formed management groups to combat Coronavirus in parallel with the government, and we are already witnessing parallel administration in these cities, and this has affected the process of announcing the statistics.

This means that the governorate and the health department in the governorate are working to show the successful record of the government and the ruling party, and the municipality headquarters work in a different way in order to challenge the success rate of the government.

The opposition media even turned the issue of masks into a political one, as newspapers made headlines on the front page: “The Governor: Why didn’t you wear the mask?”

“Shopkeeper: I don’t have a job, we want to die.”

Or another newspaper entitled: “Instead of asking for the mask, ask for the empty entrance to my store.”