Municipal workers in protective suits disinfect the courtyard of the Kocatepe mosque to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) during the holy month of fasting Ramadan in Ankara, Turkey on April 15, 2021. REUTERS / Cagla Gurdogan
President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey will cautiously break out of total isolation next week and lift restrictions more heavily in June as the number of cases plummeted after the peak of the second wave of the fierce COVID-19 pandemic.
Turkish authorities imposed isolation two weeks ago after the daily COVID-19 cases topped 60,000, one of the highest in the world, with nearly 400 deaths per day.
The surge threatened to hit the lucrative summer tourism season in Turkey and has already led to the transfer of the Champions League final from Istanbul to Portugal, while Formula 1 canceled the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix on Friday.
Erdogan said the “calendar of controlled normalization” will begin on Monday.
“We intend to continue to act relatively cautiously until the end of May,” he said in a televised address. “From June, we plan to significantly reduce measures to make everyday life even more comfortable.”
Daily new cases fell to 11,000, sharply lower than last month but still above Erdogan’s 5,000 target set at the start of the lockdown. Fully vaccinated about 10.7 million people, or 13% of the population, another 4 million received the first dose of the vaccine.
“As a result of the sacrifices we have made, we see a significant reduction in the number of new cases, severe patients and deaths,” Erdogan said. “We hope to further reduce these numbers without losing our caution.”
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