Istanbul authorities stand in solidarity with healthcare workers amid COVID-19 pandemic


Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu on Tuesday announced that the municipality would continue to stand in solidarity with healthcare workers who have been struggling against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Imamoglu said public transport and parking lots across Istanbul, Turkey’s most populous city, would continue to be free of charge for healthcare workers until the end of this year.

“We are always standing by our professionals who have been battling against the coronavirus devotedly,” Imamoglu noted on his Twitter account.

When the pandemic first started to appear in the country in March, the municipality had announced that public vehicles would be free for healthcare workers until the end of August.

On Monday, meanwhile, the municipal authorities in the Uskudar district on the Asian side organized a wedding ceremony for 10 couples who are in the health sector in a show of solidarity.

The expenses, including wedding dresses, make-up, transportation, honeymoon, photography, and orchestra, were covered free of charge by several companies operating in the wedding sector, according to press reports.

“I would like to thank everyone who supported us in this difficult process and cheered us up,” Kubra Seferoglu, one of the brides, was quoted as saying by the local media at the ceremony.

Additionally, the Besiktas municipality has reserved various dormitories in the district for the use of healthcare professionals who shun from going home over fears of carrying the virus to their loved ones.

Istanbul, with a population of over 16 million, had previously accounted for as much as 70 percent of the total COVID-19 cases in the country. But Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya recently said that the ratio has dropped to 25-30 percent.

The daily number of new cases in the country was reported as 1,443 on Monday, taking the total number of infections to 259,692. The death toll reached 6,139, with the daily addition of 18, according to the latest figures released by the Health Ministry.

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