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Turkish police detain 11 for throwing house party amid coronavirus measures

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Turkish police have detained 11 people, including the organizers and a DJ, after a weekend coronavirus house party in İstanbul where some guests dressed up as doctors, AFP reported, citing local officials.

The party, thrown at a villa in the Büyükçekmece district on Saturday night, was shared live on social media but received criticism for ignoring social distancing pleas.

“These idiots have organized a home party somewhere in Istanbul” one Twitter user posted.

“How come we will stop the spread of the virus despite those idiots!!!”

Bars and nightclubs were closed in Turkey by a circular issued by the interior ministry as part of efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

Police watched the social media broadcast then detained 11 people including the organizer, M.S. and M.E.C., and a DJ.

They were charged with “disobeying the regulations on infectious diseases,” the İstanbul governor’s office said in a statement late Sunday.

The authorities were working to identify other participants, it added.

In the video footage posted, some of those partying could be seen dressed up as emergency doctors with gloves and masks.

“I drank a lot of alcohol. Everyone was dancing with the music. I regret holding such a party at a time of coronavirus,” M.S. told the police, the private Demirören news agency (DHA) reported.

Elif K., who broadcast the party live on social media, said around 80 people attended. “They were drinking and dancing. I later called a taxi and left.”

DHA said the police released seven people after questioning them but that the other four were sent to court.

Turkey has so far officially recorded 9,217 cases of the new coronavirus while 131 people have died.

Authorities have taken a series of measures to try to slow the spread of the virus, from suspending international flights to shutting schools. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on Turks to stay at home and adapt themselves to “voluntary quarantine” conditions.

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