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Turkey finally releases epidemic figures: coronavirus epicenter in Istanbul

Turkey’s death toll from the COVID-19 outbreak has hit 356 as political sparring has broken out over rival assistance programs for the poor and the government’s efforts to keep the economy afloat.
Funeral vehicles stand in front of a morgue to carry coffins of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) victims to cemeteries in Istanbul, Turkey March 31, 2020. REUTERS/Umit Bektas     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC2ZUF99ETHB

ISTANBUL — President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey faces a “historic catastrophe” as the country suffered its deadliest day yet from the coronavirus pandemic and warned against “political profiteering” as his government spars with opposition mayors over its response to the fast-spreading outbreak.

Another 79 people died in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 356 people, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said. Another 2,456 people tested positive and the country now has 18,135 confirmed cases, he said. Testing has increased to 18,135 a day — nearly double the rate just five days ago.

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