ANKARA (Middle East Eye) – Turkey began to ease coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday in new guidelines distributed to the country’s 81 provinces based on risk levels, according to the interior ministry.
On Monday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said "a new, controlled normalization is starting”, with the country lifting weekend lockdowns in low and medium-risk cities, and limiting the restrictions to just Sundays in high and very high-risk cities.
Turkey, home to 83 million people, has administered nearly 8.9 million shots in its vaccination campaign. More than 7 million people have received their first doses of the CoronaVac jab acquired from the Chinese company Sinovac, while second doses have been given to nearly 2 million people.
The risk categorization of provinces is based on infection rates and the vaccination process, which began in mid-January.
Turkey’s biggest city, Istanbul, was categorized as high risk, while the capital Ankara was in the medium-risk category.
The weekday curfew will continue across the country between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., while the weekend curfew restrictions in low and medium-risk provinces will be lifted, and lockdown will remain in high and very high-risk regions on Sunday.
All pre-school education institutions, primary schools, 8th to 12th grades will open for in-person education across Turkey. Besides, face-to-face education will also start in secondary and high schools in low and medium-risk provinces. But only face-to-face exams will be held in high schools in high and very high-risk provinces.
Turkey on Monday reported 9,891 new COVID-19 cases, including 645 symptomatic ones, raising the total number in the country to 2,711,479, according to the health ministry.
The death toll from the virus in Turkey rose by 69 to 28,638, while the total recoveries climbed to 2,578,181 after 5,947 more cases recovered in the last 24 hours.
The rate of pneumonia in COVID-19 patients stands at 3.6 percent and the number of seriously ill patients is 1,215 in the country, said the ministry.
A total of 130,536 tests were conducted over the past day, bringing the overall number of tests in Turkey to 33,305,552.