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Turkey eases Covid-19 restrictions; masks still required

turkish market covid
Turkish market during the pandemic.

Turkey on Thursday cancelled most of its Covid-19 restrictions on businesses and events, and lifted nighttime and Sunday curfews after daily infection numbers remain steadily around 5,000 cases.

The intercity travel restrictions and limits on guests at restaurants and wedding parties are also lifted, said the interior ministry in a statement said.

It added that concerts and festivals are also allowed on the condition that the music must end by midnight.

Shopping malls will be able to reopen. Some businesses will remain closed, including gyms and cafes. Preschools will resume in-person education but upper grades will continue remote learning.

But wearing masks is still mandatory in the country, the statement said. and all other curfew restrictions will remain in place.

Despite the curfew, hundreds of soccer fans were out in Istanbul late Saturday to celebrate the Super League win for Besiktas, Reuters reported.

New infections and Covid-19 deaths exploded after Turkey lifted most restrictions in March, prompting the government to introduce a full lockdown at the end of April. It was the strictest measure the government had taken since the beginning of the pandemic, following record new cases above 60,000 a day..

Turkey on Thursday confirmed 5,288 new Covid-19 cases, including 462 symptomatic patients, raising the total number of cases in the country to 5,430,940.

The death toll from the virus in Turkey rose by 42 to 49,774, while the total recoveries climbed to 5,300,504 after 6,219 more people recovered in the last 24 hours.

A total of 225,537 tests were conducted over the past day, with the overall number of tests in Turkey reaching 61,012,512.

Turkey started mass Covid-19 vaccination on Jan. 14 after the authorities approved the emergency use of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine.

Turkey’s vaccination drive has gathered speed, surpassing 50 million doses. But only 18 per cent of Turkey’s 84 million population has been fully vaccinated with Pfizer and Sinovac. Coronavirus infections have been hovering around a seven-day average of about 5,500 cases. More than 35,125,000 people have been vaccinated so far in total.

Turkey reported its first Covid-19 case on March 11, 2020.

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