There has been a surge in COVID-19 cases in Turkey in the past two weeks that hasn't been reflected in hospitalization numbers yet, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on March 17, two weeks after the country eased restrictions.
The patients who have emerged in provinces across the country in the past two weeks haven't been hospitalized, the minister noted, saying that "hospitals don't reflect the cases yet."
"Our performance in the first 15 days was below expectation, but we believe that you will get an increasing grip on the issue," the minister said.
The minister urged the public to not "allow the virus to take over social life" and urged residents of higher-risk provinces to show increased attention.
Turkey reported some 869 symptomatic patients being diagnosed on March 17, another 18,912 asymptomatic patients, and 73 patients who passed away.
Meanwhile, 4.5 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will arrive in the country this month, Koca added.
More than 12.35 million doses of a Chinese vaccine have been administered across Turkey so far, according to official figures.