Up to 3,000 Turks infected with coronavirus during Hagia Sophia’s opening as a mosque

Up to 3,000 Turks infected with coronavirus during Hagia Sophia's opening as a mosque 1

The conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque has been hit with a new drama.

Some 3,000 people are believed to have been infected with the coronavirus during the ceremony of Hagia Sophia’s conversion into a mosque on July 24, a Turkish public health expert at a leading university said on Saturday according to Ahval News.

Ahval News, who quoted the Turkish-language ANKA, quoted associate professor at Ankara’s Hacettepe University, Dr Sarp Üner, as saying.

“A simple calculation shows that there would be 1,000 patients there… If we consider the transmission rate, those patients would have infected between 2,000 to 3,000 others,’’ Üner said. “I believe that the gathering will increase the cases in Istanbul.’’

Although only 1,000 guests were permitted inside Hagia Sophia during the conversion ceremony, thousands more spilled out into the courtyard and surrounding area.

Those inside Hagia Sophia practiced social distancing and wore masks, but outside was a completely different story.

Üner warned that coronavirus cases will increase in Turkey in September, saying:

“People will return from vacation, schools will open, people will be indoors and group season is coming. A system that will distinguish between flu and coronavirus should be established. Because they give similar symptoms. It is certain that more difficult days await us.”

Üner underlines that there is an insufficient number of tests being done in Turkey.

“The number of tests must be increased and the contacts must be tested, only this way can the disease be controlled,” he said.

The high infection rate for those who attended Hagia Sophia’s conversion ceremony was revealed after the Muezzin of Hagia Sophia, the one appointed to lead and recite the Islamic call to prayer, died suddenly.

Osman Aslan who was assigned to Hagia Sophia died of a heart attack, as reported by Greek City Times.

In the statement made by the Mufti’s of Constantinople, “Our Kagithane District Uhud Mosque passed away due to a heart attack during the voluntary guidance service in Hagia Sophia Mosque. We extend our condolences to his family and relatives.”