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Turkey not yet mulling tightening coronavirus measures

Despite a recent spike in COVID-19 cases, the government is not planning to revisit restrictive measures at least for the time being, but will monitor the situation, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.

“We have decided to continue implementing the current [normalization] practice in our cities and to closely follow the developments,” Erdoğan told the nation on March 15 after a highly anticipated cabinet meeting in Ankara.

The president, however, warned that new restrictions and curbs will be inevitable if the public does not comply with the anti-virus measures.

“I think that our people were not able to show the necessary attention to abiding by the rules with the first excitement of normalization,” Erdoğan said, calling on people to act more cautiously.

He noted that infection cases have been on the rise in some provinces but added despite the rise in cases, hospitalizations and intensive care unit and intubation levels have not increased.

The government two weeks ago unveiled its “controlled normalization” plan.

Under the new phase in the fight against the outbreak, weekend lockdowns in low- and medium-risk provinces have been lifted while they have been eased in the high- and very-high-risk provinces. The government, however, kept weeknight curfews in place in all 81 provinces of the country.

Moreover, restaurants and cafes have been allowed to accept customers from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 50 percent capacity in all provinces except for very-high-risk cities.

Turkey introduced a raft of restrictive measures after the daily cases leapt to 30,000 towards the end of 2020.

Vaccination drive

Erdoğan also said that more than 11 million doses of the virus vaccine had been administered in Turkey, making it one of the top five countries in the world in terms of inoculations.

Turkey will continue acquiring vaccines from abroad until its locally developed COVID-19 vaccine is ready for use, the president added.

The country rolled out its inoculation program on Jan. 14. Nearly 8 million people received the first dose of the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine while another 3.8 million people have received both doses.

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