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Turkey’s death toll from the coronavirus rose by 115 to total 2,491 and new confirmed cases rose by 3,116 to bring the country’s total to 101,790, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on April 23.

A total of 18,491 people have recovered from the new coronavirus so far, and the number of tests carried out over the past 24 hours stood at 40,962, Koca wrote on Twitter. 

“Today we are in a better condition than yesterday. We came to this point with a total of 791,906 tests, with none of them done by chance,” Koca said.

On April 22, Koca signaled that a shift to gradual normalization might take place after the Eid al-Fitr at the end of May, but said that everyone needs to follow the social distancing rules strictly for this to happen.

“If we abide by the rules and act in a conscious manner, there will not be a delay in the planned schedule for normalization. For us to shift to a normalization period gradually during the Eid al-Fitr and afterwards depends on if we abide by the announced measures strictly or not. We should make no concessions to rules of isolation and social distancing,” Koca said during a press conference on April 22.

However, Koca’s remarks contrasted with those of Presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın, who said that it is not possible to state when the measures imposed against the COVID-19 pandemic will be lifted.

“No one has the possibility of saying that the coronavirus pandemic will end and measures will be lifted at a certain date based on a mathematical certainty when such an outbreak is ongoing. We need to be careful,” Kalın said in an interview on April 22, adding that the measures will continue to be implemented strictly.

As part of tightened measures to contain the virus, Turkey’s major 31 provinces are currently under a four-day curfew that started on April 23 and ends on April 26, at midnight.

The country has already imposed lockdowns over the past two weekends, but the third consecutive lockdown is longer this time due to the April 23 National Sovereignty and Children’s Day.

During the week, the stay-at-home order only applies to those under the age of 20 or over 65. All other citizens are in theory allowed to go out, although authorities urge to them to stay at home if possible.