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Turkey cancels COVID-19 tests for unvaccinated as cases fall

Turkey cancels COVID-19 tests for unvaccinated as cases fall

Despite the high number of cases, strong momentum in Turkey’s vaccination program and fewer coronavirus hospitalizations have prompted the relaxing of another pandemic-related measure.

As Turkey reached 139 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered since it launched a vaccination program in January 2021, it removed the requirement for unvaccinated individuals to take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for COVID-19 before using public transportation or attending large gatherings on Saturday. More than 57.2 million people have received the first jab, while over 51 million have been fully vaccinated, the Health Ministry said. The country has also given third booster shots to more than 23.3 million people.

Separately, the ministry confirmed 63,967 new coronavirus infections, 177 related deaths, and 52,016 recoveries on Saturday. As many as 384,263 virus tests were done.

The Interior Ministry issued instructions to governorates across the 81 provinces to lift test requirements, in line with recommendations by the Health Ministry’s Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board.

Under the new rules, unvaccinated people, people who missed their second or third dose of vaccine and those who have not been infected with the coronavirus in the last 180 days will not be required to show the results of their PCR tests before boarding domestic flights, buses, trains or other means of public transportation. They will also no longer be required to take PCR tests before attending events like concerts, film screenings and theater productions. The testing requirement for school staff and employees in the private and public sector was also lifted.

The PCR test requirement for the unvaccinated was introduced in September 2021 in a bid to boost the vaccination program at a time when the number of doses administered stood below 100 million.

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