Turkey moving to new normalization phase

Turkey moving to new normalization phase

Turkey moving to new normalization phase

Turkey this week is moving to a new normalization phase in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health Minister Fahrettion Koca previously said that the Health Ministry’s Science Board was working on plans on how to proceed toward normalization after June 1.

The cabinet, chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is expected to convene this week to discuss the steps to be taken in this new phase.

“We are aiming to return to normal across the country with massive vaccinations in June,” Erdoğan said in a speech last week.

After the daily coronavirus cases and the deaths from COVID-19 climbed to record highs in mid-April, Turkey imposed a partial lockdown, which lasted between April 29 and May 17.

Even after the lifting of partial lockdown, many restrictions, such as weeknight and weekend curfews, are still in place. Restaurants and cafes are still closed, only providing takeaway and delivery services.

During and in the wake of the lockdown, the number of daily coronavirus infections, which at one point in April hit as much as 63,000 cases, started to decline steadily.

Officials and experts are stressing that Turkey needs to boost the vaccination drive during summer to make a good process to bring the outbreak under control by the autumn.

They noted that the expected new deliveries of the Pfizer/BioNTech jabs would help the country ramp up inoculation by covering more age groups.

Turkey has signed deals to secure 120 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines.

To date, the country has administered more than 28.8 million doses of COVID-19 jabs since it began mass inoculations on Jan. 14. Nearly 16.5 million people have received the first dose of the vaccine, while over 12.3 million have been given both doses. Turkey has been using both the jabs developed by the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Chinese pharmaceutical company, Sinovac

Meanwhile, Education Minister Ziya Selçuk said that schools could reopen in autumn.

“Considering the weather conditions, it would be right to resume in-class education in August. That is why we are planning to reopen the schools sometime around September,” Selçuk said.

He also said that they wanted to start make-up classes in June. “However, a decision regarding those classes will be taken at the cabinet meeting,” the minister added.