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COVID-19 cases rise again in Turkey but not at alarming rate

The Health Ministry on Tuesday announced the data regarding the COVID-19 pandemic for the week between June 13 and June 19. A total of 10,954 people tested positive during that period, and 19 people died of the infection.

Figures show about a 50% rise in the number of cases, which fluctuated around 7,500 in recent weeks. Recoveries from the coronavirus in the second week of the month were 7,653.

Turkey switched to the publication of weekly data about the cases rather than grim daily figures when the number of daily cases significantly dropped. The country has also eased the restrictions stemming from the pandemic, including a mask mandate.

Since March 11, 2020, when the first COVID-19 case was reported, Turkey reported more than 15 million cases, while 99,015 people died of the infection.

A nationwide vaccination program has played a key role in reducing infections. Since January 2021, the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered exceeded 147 million. The Health Ministry recommends the administration of at least two doses of any vaccine for minimum protection against the disease. Currently, 10 provinces, namely Osmaniye, Ordu, Amasya, Muğla, Kırklareli, Çanakkale, Eskişehir, Balıkesir, Manisa and Zonguldak, have the highest rate of two-dose vaccination for people ages 18 and above. Eastern provinces, including Şanlıurfa, Batman, Siirt, Diyarbakır, Bingöl, Muş, Mardin, Bitlis, Ağrı and Elazığ still have the lowest vaccination rates.

In May, Turkey removed the last major restriction related to the pandemic: lifting the mask mandate in mass transit. Currently, the only place with a mask mandate is hospitals. The country lifted its longtime indoor mask mandate in April.

Turkey has largely recovered from the devastating impact of the coronavirus over the past six months thanks to mass vaccination as well as the omicron variant, which, respectively, protected the population and boosted immunity, leading to fewer fatalities and hospitalizations.

With low numbers, Turkey remains a safe harbor in Europe, which faces a renewed battle against the coronavirus this summer. European Union countries approved Tuesday extending the use of COVID-19 certificates by one year until the end of June 2023 as cases of the deadly virus start to grow again ahead of the summer holiday season. Aimed at facilitating travel across the 27-nation bloc during the pandemic, the certificates entered into force in July last year and have been a successful tool to help EU citizens move in the region during coronavirus times without restrictions such as quarantines. EU countries have issued nearly 2 billion certificates. The document attests that a person has been vaccinated against the coronavirus, that they have a recent negative test result or have recovered from the infection. The European Council said the regulation may be lifted earlier. But after most EU countries removed coronavirus restrictions over the past months in light of the improved health situation, a recent increase in infections fueled by new variants is leading governments to rethink their strategies. In France, for instance, Health Minister Brigitte Bourguignon recommended this week that people wear masks again in crowded areas and on public transport.

The number of new coronavirus cases rose in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Europe earlier this month, while the number of deaths globally dropped by 16%, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) pandemic report issued on June 22. The WHO said there were 3.3 million new COVID-19 infections in the second week of June, marking a 4% decrease, with more than 7,500 deaths. But cases jumped by about 45% in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, and by about 6% in Europe. Southeast Asia was the only region to report a slight 4% increase in deaths, while figures fell elsewhere. Globally, the number of new COVID-19 cases has been falling after peaking in January. British health officials said earlier this month that there were early signs the country could be at the start of a new wave of infections driven by omicron variants, although hospitalization rates have so far remained “very low.”

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Written by Info Center

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