New coronavirus cases in Turkey as 12 test positive overnight

Interior ministry orders temporary shutdown of bars, nightclubs across its 81 provinces.

epa08282677 Turkish municipality workers carry out disinfection against the novel coronavirus Covid-19 at the Karaagac Village, where migrants and refugees came for shopping from the Turkish-Greek bor
Turkey also banned mass prayers in mosques but places of worship will be kept open for individual prayers [Tolga Bozoglu/EPA]

Turkey identified 12 new cases of coronavirus bringing its total to 18, marking the highest daily rise since the country announced its first case last week.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Mondaytwo of the new cases were related to the first case reported in the country, while seven had travelled from Europe and three from the United States

On Sunday, the country’s interior ministry announced the temporary closure of bars and nightclubs across its 81 provinces in a bib to curb the spread of the pandemic. 

“As of midnight Monday all operations of cafes, cinemas, gyms… will be suspended,” the interior ministry said, citing the heightened risk of passing on the virus in “public recreation areas and entertainment venues”.

Swimming pools, concert and wedding venues and some restaurants will also be closed, it added, and all activities and gatherings of nongovernmental organisations will be postponed. The ministry did not say how long the suspension would last.

Turkey also banned mass prayers in mosques, the head of Turkey’s religious directorate, Ali Erbas said, but places of worship will be kept open for individual prayers.

Separately, Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said on Monday all non-emergency court hearings will be delayed.

Last Wednesday, Turkey became the last major economy to report an outbreak after taking what the World Health Organization (WHO) described as “vigilant” measures to delay it.

The government has since ramped up measures to halt the spread of the virus, closing schools and universities, holding sports events without spectators and halting flights to many countries.

Turkey also set up quarantine sites for more than 10,300 people returning from pilgrimages to Islams holy sites in Saudi Arabia.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies