Turks spend Sunday under lockdown for last time

Turks spend Sunday under lockdown for last time

Turks spend Sunday under lockdown for last time

Millions of Turks spent Sunday under lockdown for the last time as the country is preparing to scrap all curfews this week starting July 1 amid declining virus cases and a fast track of vaccinations.

In the wake of the surge in COVID-19 infections, which hit record highs, hovering above 60,000 in April, the government imposed a nationwide lockdown which remained in effect between April 29 and May 17 to bring the pandemic under control.

As daily infections started declining, Turkey moved to the gradual normalization phase after May 17.

Currently, curfews are in effect from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weekdays and Saturdays and all cities are under a full lockdown on Sundays. But all those restrictions will be abolished as well as the curbs on intercity travel and public transport as of July 1.

The normalization phase has been accompanied by fast vaccinations. In June alone, the country administered more than 16.4 million doses of coronavirus vaccines, with the number of total jabs given since the start of the inoculation drive launched in mid-January having surpassed 47 million.

During June, Turkey has gradually lowered the vaccine eligibility age from 50 to 18 and the public’s response has been very strong. Around or more than 1 million doses of jabs have been given daily since June 16 with a record 1.5 million vaccinations on June 21.

According to data from the Health Ministry, to date, more than 32 million people have received the first dose of their COVID-19 jabs while nearly 15 million people have been fully vaccinated.

Turkey may remove mandatory the face mask rule in September if enough number of people are vaccinated, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said in his remarks earlier this month.

Authorities are aiming to vaccinate 55 million people with at least one shot by mid-July in the country, which has a population of some 84 million.

COVID-19 has infected more than 5.4 million people and killed over 49,000 patients in Turkey.