Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on June 24 that the imposition of further coronavirus restrictions is not currently on the agenda, while the country registered 1,492 new infections and 24 new deaths linked to the virus.
Koca made the remarks during a press meeting after chairing a meeting of the Health Ministry’s Coronavirus Science Committee in the capital Ankara.
“New restrictions in the upcoming period are not on the Science Committee’s agenda and we are not thinking about them right now,” he said.
Koca also shared the daily infection data saying that Turkey’s coronavirus death toll has reached 5,025, after 24 more people died in the previous 24 hours.
He also said that the total number of coronavirus cases nationwide to date reached 191,657, with new 1,492 infections reported.
Amid a recent spike in infection figures, the minister said that the country is not currently experiencing the second wave of the coronavirus.
“We can surely say that we are not facing a second wave. We are still seeing the impact of the first phase. The impact of the first wave is still continuing in the world,” he said.
The minister also refuted claims that the virus has become less potent.
“Spread of virus has not slowed down, there is no scientific evidence that it has become less potent. Not using masks is a violation of personal right,” Koca said, as he once again stressed the importance of maintaining social distance and the use of facial masks.
“Average age of coronavirus-related fatalities increased from 71 to 74,” he added.
The country’s healthcare workers conducted 53,486 tests for the virus over the past 24 hours, raising the total count to more than 3.08 million.
Turkey has recently seen an upward trend in the daily number of virus infections after the government authorized cafes, restaurants, gyms, parks, beaches and museums to reopen, lifted inter-city travel restrictions and eased stay-at-home orders for the elderly and young on June 1.
The daily number of cases climbed to around 1,500 last week after hovering around 800-900 previously. After this spike in infection figures, authorities made the wearing of masks compulsory in several more provinces, including Istanbul and the capital Ankara.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on June 20 Turkey had lost some ground in its battle with the coronavirus but a focus on hygiene, masks and social distancing will protect people and help the economy rebound in the second half of the year.
“The numbers in recent days show that we have lost our position in the fight against the epidemic,” Erdoğan said in a televised address. “But we aim to remove the pandemic from our agenda by respecting the cleaning, mask and distance rules.”