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COVID-19 in Turkey: Vaccination campaign ongoing, fewer restrictions

COVID-19 in Turkey: Vaccination campaign ongoing, fewer restrictions

Turkey reported only 5,294 new coronavirus cases on Monday while daily fatalities dropped to 51. The numbers are not that different from those reported over the past few weeks, but they are significant compared to the 60,000 new cases reported on some days a few months ago. This downward trend is tied to tightened restrictions and an accelerated vaccination campaign. Now, restrictions will be relaxed while vaccinations are expected to gain further momentum.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced on Tuesday that people age 25 and above will be eligible for coronavirus vaccines starting on Wednesday. His announcement comes one day after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the government would lift most restrictions, including Sunday lockdowns and weekday curfews starting from July 1.

Koca, in a tweet, also urged young people to convince and help their elder relatives get vaccinated. “Let the youth take action against the pandemic,” Koca concluded.

Last week, the country dominated the list of countries giving the most coronavirus jabs per 100 people, the Health Ministry announced. Koca said that between June 14-20, an average of 1.45 out of every 100 people were vaccinated, ahead of China and Germany.

As of Tuesday, more than 43 million doses were administered in the country, which launched its inoculation campaign in January 2021, inoculating health care workers with CoronaVac, a vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac. The addition of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to the country’s vaccine inventory further boosted the campaign. Nowadays, vaccine hesitancy appears the only challenge for authorities as new shipments of both vaccines continue on schedule.