Coronavirus: Turkey virus death toll tops 3,000

Health workers help a woman who tested positive for the novel coronavirus at Bagcilar in Istanbul, on April 28, 2019, in Istanbul. (AFP)

Turkey’s official death toll from the novel coronavirus rose to 3,081, the health minister said on Wednesday.

In a tweet, Fahrettin Koca said 89 more deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours while there were 2,936 new cases.

The total number of reported infections is now 117,589, as Turkey remains the worst hit country in the Middle East.

Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.

During a press conference earlier on Wednesday, Koca said Turkey was now in the “peak period,” adding: “We see a downward trend” in new cases.

He added 7,428 health workers had been infected, which is around 6.5 percent of the total number of cases.

Turkey has taken a series of measures to prevent the spread of the virus including shutting schools, restaurants and other public spaces.

There are also all-day weekend curfews in 31 cities including Ankara and Istanbul, with a three-day lockdown set to begin Friday, a public holiday.

Local residents, most wearing face masks shop in an open market in Istanbul on April 22, 2020. (AP)

Local residents, most wearing face masks shop in an open market in Istanbul on April 22, 2020. (AP)

Turkish officials in recent days have sounded a note of optimism that the situation will improve towards the end of May as the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan also ends.

“In the coming period, we can ease the measures in cities where there are less cases,” Koca said in Ankara.

The government has also stepped up the number of tests with nearly a million undertaken since the first recorded case in March.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:58 - GMT 06:58