Use of public transport in İstanbul falls by 17 percent after first COVID-19 case

People walk next to a tramway on İstiklal avenue during snowfalls in Istanbul on January 7, 2017. A heavy snowstorm paralysed life in Istanbul with hundreds of flights cancelled and the Bosphorus closed to shipping traffic. The snowstorm dumped almost 40 centimetres (16 inches) of snow in parts of the Turkish metropolis overnight, causing havoc on roads as travellers sought to leave the city for the weekend getaway. / AFP PHOTO / YASIN AKGUL

The number of people using mass transportation in Turkey’s most populated city of İstanbul has fallen by 17 percent since Turkish authorities announced the first case of the novel coronavirus in the country earlier this week.

According to statistics tweeted by İstanbul Municipality spokesperson Murat Ongun, while 7,441,316 people used public transportation such as the subway, metrobus and bus on March 9, this figure has fallen gradually and fell as low as 6,188,972 on March 13, which corresponds to a decline of 17 percent.

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced the first case of the novel coronavirus in Turkey on March 11, while the number of persons who had contracted COVID-19 had risen to six, according to another statement on Sunday.

The minister said five of the affected patients were from the same extended family, but Turkish officials declined to reveal in which Turkish city they were located.

The sixth person had recently traveled back from Saudi Arabia.

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