Turkey’s health minister said Wednesday that he had consulted with health officials from some of the nation’s largest cities via videoconference about the struggle against the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

“In the meetings with [health officials in] IZMIR, GAZIANTEP, KAHRAMANMARAS, ESKISEHIR, DENIZLI, ADIYAMAN, AYDIN, we evaluated the point we have reached in combating the epidemic. There is an increase in cases across these 7 provinces and the country, especially in Istanbul. The importance of masks has increased. Let’s follow the rules,” Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter, urging compliance with measures to curb the virus’s spread.

COVID-19 has claimed more than 1.13 million lives in 189 countries and regions since first being detected in Wuhan, China in December.

The US, India and Brazil are currently the worst-hit countries.

Over 41 million cases have been reported worldwide, with recoveries exceeding 28 million, according to figures compiled by US-based Johns Hopkins University.

*Writing by Ahmet Gencturk

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