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Images of crowding during holidays spark COVID-19 concerns in Turkey

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A series of images that show people flocking to resort destinations during the religious Eid holidays in Turkey has sparked criticism on social media and led to anxiety with regard to the country’s COVID-19 numbers, which have ticked up after the lifting of restrictions, the T24 news website reported on Monday.

The pictures circulating on social media showed crowds gathering on beaches and nearby areas without social distancing, with many users accusing the holiday-goers of acting irresponsibly.

Turkey’s Muslim majority has also been celebrating Eid since Friday, during which believers traditionally visit livestock markets to purchase animals for slaughter and family members visit each other.

Mustafa Necmi İlhan of the health ministry said social distancing measures were not adequately observed during the holidays and that this might be reflected as a surge in the COVID-19 statistics within the next 10 to 15 days.

“Under normal circumstances, schools would open on August 31. However, the outlook after Eid will determine whether courses take place online or in the classroom, or some hybrid of the two,” İlhan said.

İlhan added that it took the country more than 30 days to bring the daily number of new cases from around 1,500 to below 1,000.

“The numbers have been following an upward trajectory, particularly over the past four days,” he said.

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