Turkey’s death toll from the novel coronavirus rose by 21 to total 4,630 on June 4, according to Health Ministry data. The country also registered new 988 cases, bringing the total figure to 167,410.
The data showed that 54,234 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of tests carried out in the country to over 2.2 million since the outbreak begun.
In a Twitter post, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca once again urged citizens to pay attention to their hand hygiene, wear facial masks and abide by the social distancing regulations.
In a news conference on June 3, Koca said that Turkey does not expect a second wave of Covid-19 infections as long as citizens take precautions.
“Under the current circumstances, based on the people’s understanding of the epidemic and measures, we can say that we are not expecting a second wave,” Koca said.
The minister however also warned that the normalization period does not mean citizens can be able to return to their old way of living.
“Normalization process is not a return to our old habits. If we do not abide by the measures, we can go back to square one,” he said.
Turkey re-opened restaurants, cafes and parks on June 1 and lifted inter-city travel curbs. The government has been gradually easing the restrictions for the past few weeks, as authorities say the outbreak is now under control.
A recent study however revealed that starting to lift Covid-19 measures in June, when Turkey in fact did start the normalization process, would create higher risk of a second wave of infections.
Conducted by members of research-focused NGO Science Academy and Özyeğin University, the research titled “The normalization process of the COVID-19 pandemic and fluctuations” hypothesizes on two scenarios of lifting preventative measures.
The first normalization scenario looks into the results of lifting bans at the start of June, July or August.
“The simulations show that all three cases would result in a second wave of infections, but that June is particularly premature to start normalization,” the research noted, adding that additional infections would be easier to manage in July or August.