Turkey reports record daily number of new COVID-19 patients

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ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey recorded its highest daily number of new COVID-19 patients Saturday as the country's first weekend curfew since June came into force.

The Health Ministry said 5,532 people with symptoms were diagnosed in 24 hours, some 400 more than were recorded on the previous record day in April. The Turkish government does not publicly report confirmed coronavirus cases involving people without COVID-19 symptoms, a policy that has been criticized for masking the true scope of the national outbreak.

“The number of our serious patients and our losses is also hurting,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted.

The country's total number of reported patients now stands at 440,805. Turkey on Saturday also reported 135 more deaths due to COVID-19, bringing its death toll since March to 12,219.

A curfew order took effect at 8 p.m. Saturday, a day after restaurants, cafes and other businesses were ordered to shut. The government lifted infection-prevention restrictions over the summer, but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced new limits last week as the number of patients rose.