Turkey announces further easing of anti-COVID restrictions

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced further easing of the restrictions against the COVID-19 pandemic as Turkey has entered a normalization process.

“It is a fact that we have survived with the least loss of lives, restrictions, and economic difficulties compared to Europe,” Erdogan said at a press conference after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

“I want to remind you of the fact that we need to organize our lives with masks, distance and hygiene until the root (of the virus) is scraped,” he added.

Turkish citizens aged 65 and older were permitted to go outdoors every day while the curfew for those under the age of 18 has been lifted, according to the president.

Marriage halls will open on June 15, while cinemas, theaters and wedding halls on July 1. The closing time of businesses, such as restaurants and cafes, has been extended from 10 p.m. to the midnight.

The novel coronavirus cases in Turkey increased by 993 to 172,114 in the past 24 hours, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted Tuesday.

Meanwhile, 18 more people died, taking the death toll to 4,729, while 3,218 patients have recovered, raising the total recoveries to 144,598, Koca said.

A total of 642 patients are being treated in intensive care units, and 281 intubated, he added.

Turkey reported the first COVID-19 case on March 11 and started normalization from June 1.

Turkey and China have supported each other in the fight against COVID-19. Chinese doctors and medical experts held a video conference with Turkish counterparts to share China’s experiences in treating coronavirus patients, protecting medical workers, and controlling the spread of the virus.