Turkey appeals to dolmuş drivers to stop cramming their minibuses

Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has urged minibus drivers to stop carrying excessive numbers of passengers in order to avoid spreading the COVID-19 coronavirus, Diken news website said on Friday.

Koca said that he had received a letter of apology from a transportation association after he had shared footage of a minibus in Istanbul carrying an excessive number of passengers; 42 in a minibus designed for 14 people.

Case numbers have reached a peak in Turkey’s COVID-19 epidemic when they should be declining, Koca said on Wednesday.

The underlying cause of the new rise in infections was the public’s reluctance to follow preventive measures, such as donning medical masks, maintaining social distancing and practicing personal hygiene, Koca said.

“I ask you to remember that (recent) deaths are due to preventable causes. The virus that causes the disease meets through respiration,” the minister said in a statement.

On Thursday, Koca said Health Ministry data showed the country’s total number of recorded cases rose by 1,024 to 209,962 in the previous 24 hours. The government’s official death toll rose by 18 to 5,300 within the same time frame.