ISTANBUL (Dispatches) – Turkey’s biggest city Istanbul on Saturday banned weddings and related ceremonies on boats on the Bosphorus Strait as well as suspended all outdoor concerts and festivals over rising COVID-19 cases.
The Istanbul governor’s office said in a statement that the decision was taken to better manage the risk of the pandemic by ensuring social isolation and maintaining the physical distance.
The marine tourism vehicles are functioning on the strait flowing in between the European and Asian parts of the city for all kinds of entertainment and tourism purposes.
Earlier in the day, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca urged Istanbul residents to follow the COVID-19 related rules strictly, saying the number of infected patients on Sept. 11 was almost twice the figure of cases last month.
Koca announced from his Twitter account that the number of patients who are in critical condition has increased by 42 percent in the city during August.
"Today, we raised the number of our filiation teams by 34 percent. Let’s follow the measures together,” he also noted.
Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya had earlier said that a total of 642 units have been patrolling the city with a population of over 16 million to detect COVID-19 infections rapidly.
Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates health ministry on Saturday reported 1,007 new coronavirus cases, its highest daily number of infections since the start of the pandemic.
The Persian Gulf Arab state has seen cases surge over the past six weeks from 164 cases on Aug. 3, a trend government officials have blamed on people not adhering to social distancing measures.
Case numbers had been generally falling after peaking at 994 on May 22, though there had been some periodic rises before the recent surge.
The UAE has recorded 78,849 infections and 399 deaths from COVID-19 so far. The government does not disclose where in the country of seven emirates the infections or deaths occurred. About 10 million people, mostly foreigners, live in the UAE.
A health ministry official on Thursday asked the public to adhere to social distancing and avoid gatherings and mixing with people known to have the virus which she said accounted for about 88% of cases.
The UAE had earlier enforced strict measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, including locking down tourism hub Dubai for a month and months-long evening curfews nationwide.