Turkey has so far confirmed 224 cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant across 26 provinces, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on June 29. Some 134 of the patients are located in Istanbul, the minister said.
On June 23, Koca had announced that the country had identified 134 cases across 16 provinces.
Although the spread of the highly contagious variant seems to be on the rise in Turkey, the country is still free of the Delta Plus strain, Koca said while answering reporters' questions in parliament.
Urging people to get their shots at the earliest, Koca said that 25 percent of Turkey’s population aged 18 and above has been vaccinated.
He ruled out the possibility of procuring Pfizer vaccines rejected by France, stressing that Turkey was buying doses from German firm BioNTech.
Turkey gives green light to sports events with spectators
Separately, Koca announced that sports events in Turkey can be held with a limited number of fans and under COVID-19 safety measures.
"We support the lifting of restrictions in all areas in the upcoming period. In a similar way, for the sports matches, I would like to say that they can be held under precautions with a certain number of audience," he said.
In March 2020, as the virus was taking hold, Turkey barred fans from all nationwide sporting events to stem the virus’ spread.
In the 2020-21 season, no fans were allowed to watch sports matches in Turkish venues.
Amid a nationwide fall in virus cases, Turkey is set to end all virus-related restrictions starting on July 1.
Ban on music will be lifted, says minister
Koca also answered a question on the ban on music after midnight, saying: "We support the lifting of all restrictions. This ban will be also lifted."
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced last week that Turkey will lift all COVID-19-related restrictions, including curfews, as of July 1, but one restriction will remain intact and that is on "music."
He said that music -- live or otherwise -- in bars and restaurants will only be allowed until midnight. "We are pushing the restrictions on music to 12 a.m. Take no offense but no one has the right to disturb others at night," he said on June 21.